Hong Kong’s champion, Ambitious Dragon clicked instantly with new jockey Zac Purton on Sunday for an impressive Sha Tin Trophy win that sets him up as the horse to beat regardless of where trainer Tony Millard places him.
From Sunday’s easy win under a big weight at handicaps, Ambitious Dragon now goes to the set weights and penalties of the Jockey Club Mile on November 18 before Millard will choose his December international target.
The trainer said that he wants to see the depth of the foreign visitors before deciding whether to stay at the mile or go for the Hong Kong Cup, at 2,000m, where he was beaten last year behind California Memory.
California Memory finished strongly into fifth on Sunday, indicating that he too has returned in good style after some joint problems towards the end of last season, and he is more likely to tackle the Jockey Club Cup, 2,000m now before the Hong Kong Cup.
John Size has Glorious Days headed towards the Hong Kong Mile after a sound second on Sunday, but seemed disappointed that Ambitious Dragon had dealt so comfortably with his threat. Size told the media he might put blinkers on Glorious Days next start to see if that might bring him closer to the Horse Of the Year.
John Moore was pleased with rising star miler Military Attack, a fast-finishing fourth, and sixth-placed Zaidan, whose ultimate goal is the Hong Kong Cup.
“I expected both to just run out of fitness in the latter stages first-up and they did,” he said. “Military Attack was very well suited with a light handicap and will be worse off at the weights next time but we have to throw him in these races because we think he will measure up.”
Moore-trained Irian failed, with Brett Prebble saying he felt the very firm track, so too did top sprinter Captain Sweet in the other feature, the Premier Bowl won by Cerise Cherry.
By Nathan Mody