Woods' King Dancer has promising future
Sean Woods has unearthed a promising horse in King Dancer, who showed himself to be a potential Group performer in flogging a smart field of Class Three horses at Sha Tin on Sunday.
King Dancer was having only his second start in Hong Kong and his fifth overall, having raced just three times in England as a juvenile. This was his first attempt at 1,600 metres and, according to Woods, that was the reason he was so confident.
'The people who recommended him to me in England said he would improve enormously from two to three, especially when he got over more ground,' Woods said after the colt's win.'He's out of a mare by [stout German stallion] Acatenango and there's a lot of stamina on the bottom line of his pedigree as well. I knew he would appreciate stepping up to 1,600 metres and he'll run 2,000 metres in time, not a doubt in the world.'
The bare facts of the win are impressive enough but King Dancer's turn of foot when jockey Johan Victoire unleashed him was a revelation.
The chestnut was able to defeat the John Size-trained Endless Luck - another British private purchase - by a neck and Endless Luck has himself gone to a new personal-best level of performance.
That pair spreadeagled the field, with Rocket Force another three lengths away third and $24 favourite Palais D'Or beaten four lengths into fourth position.
The time of 1:35.17 was fast, given the speed of the track on the day, and represented 0.85 seconds faster than standard.
The thing that makes King Dancer's performance even more amazing is his relative youth - he's a northern hemisphere three-year-old but his foaling date is April 20 - in reality, he's beating older horses while still a two-year-old.
Woods must now manage King Dancer's career carefully because being so young and so good at the same time also makes him vulnerable. But handled with the appropriate patience and respect, there's no reason the youngster couldn't be spoken of in Derby terms by this time next year.
King Dancer unleashed his killer turn of foot in the final sectional to clock: 22.91