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‘Underrated’ Super Wealthy takes aim at the big boys after second National Day Cup success

An “underrated” Super Wealthy will get a chance to test himself against the best after becoming the first horse to land back-to-back wins in the Group Three National Day Cup (1,000m) at Sha Tin on Saturday afternoon.

While connections opted to bypass last year’s Longines Hong Kong International Races with Super Wealthy, trainer David Hayes confirmed the speedster will be given an opportunity to tackle the elite in December’s Group One Hong Kong Sprint (1,200m).

The seven-year-old will be given a freshen up before next stepping out in the Group Two Jockey Club Sprint (1,200m) on November 20 and Hayes is hopeful, rather than confident, the son of Epaulette can factor over six furlongs in the highest grade.

“He’s an underrated sprinter, he’s top level – especially down the straight. I would say he could win a top-level 1,200m, but I’d be more confident in a 1,000m race,” Hayes said of Super Wealthy, who has twice finished within two lengths of the winner in Group One company.

“It was only three weeks ago in the Chief Executive’s Cup he went down on his nose and picked himself up and ran fourth.

“He’s fully qualified for the international races. Last year, we missed them. This year, we might have a little try. We’ll run in the lead-up race three weeks before [HKIR].

“He’s had two runs now and that will be his third run, and then he’ll have his fourth run in the big one. A nice, gradual prep gives him his best chance to be competitive.”

After jumping nicely from gate seven, Zac Purton allowed $4 chance Super Wealthy to build into a rhythm at the back of the seven-horse field before slicing through a gap one off the outside rail and grabbing $1.9 favourite Cordyceps Six in the last 100m.

Super Wealthy’s winning margin was a neck and he stopped the clock in 56.05 seconds, more than one second slower than the class-record 54.96 he clocked in last year’s race.

“We drew the right side of the track and it was just a matter of getting him into the right rhythm. He began really well. The speed was nice early, but it wasn’t electric like it can be. I suspected that in a small field,” Purton said.

“I just harnessed his enthusiasm through the first part of the race and let it unfold. I just tried to bring him into the race at the right time. I knew he would be strong to the line.

“I just had to wait for the gap, and I had a horse good enough to take it. He was well prepared. He won this race last year. It’s not easy to go back to back. He’s gone up in the ratings, but David’s done a good job.”

Hayes praised Purton’s effort aboard Super Wealthy, who carried 15 pounds more than 12 months ago, and joked it was nice to help his countryman get back among the winners after he missed out at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.

“It was a really good ride. It was nice to pull him out of the muck, I think he was on [13] outs – that doesn’t happen in his life much,” Hayes laughed.

The pair then completed a running double, with Oriental Smoke taking out the Class Three Shanghai Handicap (1,200m) to see the championship-leading Purton move to 13 winners for the campaign, while Hayes jumped into equal first position in the trainers’ premiership with seven winners.

Richard Gibson confirmed Cordyceps Six will return to 1,200m for the Group Two Premier Bowl on October 23 as the Englishman plots a course to international day with his prodigious talent.

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