MIKE de Kock’s international hopefuls Musir (BMW Champions Mile, Monday 25 April) and River Jetez (QE2 Cup, Sunday 1 May) worked steadily on the all-weather track at Sha-Tin racecourse on Friday were familiarised with the paddock.
Musir, in work, photographed on Friday. (hkjc.com).
Trainer John Moore’s has a four strong attack on the Champions Mile, that looks to be headed by Able One and Xtension. Both would be worthy mounts in the race according to stable jockey Darren Beadman.
Beadman, who will ride the Mercedes-Benz HK Derby runner-up Xtension, has ridden both horses in work over the past two mornings.
“I rode Xtension this morning and he felt really good. I gave him a squeeze and he zipped home well,” Beadman said after the four-year-old worked over 1200 metres – running his last 400 metres in 24.1.
“He’s fresh for this which is a plus and he’s a big strong colt who could easily get stirred up but he’s pretty relaxed. He’s the one I’ve chosen to ride and I’m happy with that choice but after Able One’s work yesterday I wouldn’t be surprised if he ran a great race.
Xtension: Over his injuries.
“He felt terrific yesterday. He’s flying on the track and really ripped home his last 200 (metres). He’s over his injuries and now it’s just a question of whether he’s got the match fitness. You know he’ll be there at the furlong (200m) and he could win without surprising. He doesn’t look overweight but he’s only had the run one back and, as I say, it might just be a question of whether he’s got that match fitness,” said Beadman who today celebrates his son Mitchell’s 21st birthday.
Able One, who ran his last 400 metres in a quick 22.4 yesterday, chases a remarkable third BMW Champions Mile win over a five year span. He’d had racing at 1600 metres and beyond before his 2007 and 2010 wins but, this year, goes to the race with just one run at 1000 metres on April 9 in his preparation.
“He ran well enough that day at the unsuitable distance,” Beadman said, “obviously a soft run would help him on Monday but he might not get a repeat of 2007 when he was 33/1 and left alone in front.”
John Moore will also be represented by Let Me Fight and Sunny King. The latter worked over 800 metres this morning (last 400m in 25.6) while raceday jockey Zac Purton galloped Let Me Fight over the same distance on Thursday (last 400m in 24.4).
Purton is clearly looking forward to his ride on Let Me Fight. “I think he’s very honest,” said Purton. “And I’m sure he’ll run an honest race on Monday. I’m just worried that maybe he struggles a bit to get a mile.”
Presvis: Loves Hong Kong.
APQEII Cup 2009 winner Presvis, who this year is the likely BMW Champions Mile favourite, did a contained gallop on the turf this morning covering the final 400 metres in 25.4 under a hold. The multiple international winner, clearly ready to be allowed to run faster, has had no searching gallops in Hong Kong. But, like the horse, Luca Cumani’s assistant Charlie Henson was perfectly relaxed. “He did his final work in Dubai last Sunday,” said Henson. “And we’ve got a Hong Kong routine now.”
As he does every time he visits Hong Kong, the seven-year-old money-spinner then went for his customary stroll round the Sha Tin paddock in preparation for Monday’s test.
French challenger Royal Bench also looked as though he was enjoying himself under workrider Stevan Bourgois and the eye of his trainer Robert Collet, who arrived yesterday. This time there was none of the reluctance to go to work he’d shown briefly on Thursday, and in fact Collet had to call “Ca va” (That’ll do), wanting Bourgois to slow down as December’s CXHK Mile runner-up stretched out impressively in front of the stands.
Collet is very pleased with the horse. “He’s the same weight and in the same condition as he was in Dubai, and he’s as well as he was in December,” said the Frenchman.
Royal Bench returned reverse splits in his 1200m gallop. He ran the first 400m in 24.6, the second in 26.5 and was eased to a final split of 28.1.
Slightly less enthusiastic about Beauty Flash, who beat Royal Bench in the CXHK Mile, was Tony Cruz. “He’s all right,” said Cruz. “He hasn’t lost any weight as a result of his trip to Dubai but maybe he’s not quite as sharp as I’d like him to be.”
APQEII Cup runner Wigmore Hall was also taken to the paddock after galloping more enthusiastically on Friday morning.