Champion facing crucial test ahead of KrisFlyer Sprint

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 03 May, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 03 May, 2008, 12:00am

Six-year-old gets his chance in trial to prove he is up for Kranji trip

Basking in the glory of one of his most fulfilling days as a trainer on Thursday, David Hall now turns his attention to Tuesday's barrier trials and a key performance in plans for his top sprinter Absolute Champion.

'The trial will tell us where Absolute Champion is at the moment, and provided he does everything we want to see, he will go to Singapore on Friday for the KrisFlyer Sprint [at Kranji on May 18],' Hall said.

The trainer is well aware time is no longer on the side of the 2006 Hong Kong Sprint champion, who has held together this season to rack up another Group One win in the Centenary Sprint and second placings to Sacred Kingdom in both the Hong Kong Sprint and Chairman's Sprint Prize.

'He still has the engine but also has these problems with his feet and that's something that isn't going to go away,' Hall said.

'Making too many plans for next season is difficult. He's going to be seven and it's probably too much to hope that he can climb the mountain three times.

'He won the Sprint here then came back a year later for second but whether he can do it again in December remains to be seen. All I'm looking at now is Singapore - if we can get him there and through that successfully in one piece then we'll think about what happens next,' he added.

Caspar Fownes has engaged Olivier Doleuze for Sanziro, Hong Kong's other KrisFlyer Sprint runner, and the Frenchman also will ride QEII Cup runner-up Balius in the S$3 million Singapore International Airlines Cup on the same day.

In other news, Felix Coetzee has stood down from rides tomorrow and Macau-based Australian jockey Brent Stanley will replace him on Win Practitioner for Fownes in the Queen Mother Memorial Cup and also in the Group One Champions & Chater Cup at his next run on May 25 at the Sha Tin track.

Coetzee stood down from the bulk of his rides on Thursday due to a respiratory complaint and said yesterday he is still struggling with the problem.

'It has been hanging around for a while and I stood down because I didn't think I was able to ride my best with it and the doctor has advised me to rest and let the medication do its job,' Coetzee said.

'After Sunday, I have a suspension, so there will be a break there which I hope will allow me to get over it.'