Allan's superstar to gain compensation for Mile defeat

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 January, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 January, 2001, 12:00am

Fairy King Prawn can gain some compensation for his luckless Hong Kong Mile second by taking this afternoon's feature event, the Stewards' Cup.

The Ivan Allan-trained five-year-old was beaten by a combination of a slow early pace and a wide draw when failing by a short head to catch New Zealand's wondermare Sunline in the $10 million Mile. It was an agonising defeat, as with normal luck in running Fairy King Prawn would have won. As it was, it was probably the best effort ever put in by a Hong Kong-trained runner. To make up something like eight lengths on such a once-in-a-lifetime mare as Sunline was a Herculean effort.

A paddock inspection prior to the Mile showed that Allan had Fairy King Prawn looking in peak condition. As the master mentor says: 'I'd squeezed him for that race. I really had him ready.'

Allan also warns: 'He did have a hard race behind Sunline and you always have to worry how they will come out of a race as tough as that. I haven't squeezed him for the Stewards' Cup but then hopefully he'll be good enough to win without having to be squeezed.'

The view from the track is that the brilliant Fairy King Prawn appears to have taken his Hong Kong Mile exertions completely and utterly in his stride. He has looked in terrific nick in his work going into this setweights 1,600-metre contest. He's moving as fluent and sweetly as ever and seems very bright and well in himself.

The biggest compliment that can be paid to Fairy King Prawn is that his short-head second to Sunline in the Mile arguably justifies him inheriting the mantle of the legendary River Verdon as the best horse trained here in recent seasons. And compliments don't come any bigger than that as River Verdon, who himself reigned supreme in the early to mid 90s, was a true colossus of the turf.

Fairy King Prawn also has a minimum of six pounds in hand over all of his rivals who are headed, on the ratings, by the great stayer Indigenous, who ran so well in the Hong Kong Vase despite not being suited by the slow pace.

Indigenous is a rough chance of running third but is going to find the mile against him. The more obvious chances for the quinella and tierce spot have to be New Trumps and Electronic Unicorn, who ran fourth and fifth behind Sunline and Fairy King Prawn in the Mile. Preference is just for New Trumps as, unless Man of Honour or Trillion Win go forward, he should be able to get an easy time in front under Alex K.S. Yu.

Indeed, this is probably the one thing that can bring Fairy King Prawn undone - a lack of pace. If New Trumps gets it very easy in front, he may just be able to slip his field. But it's very much a maybe with The Prawn looking ready to sizzle.

Graphic: S1600glo