Throat surgery still keeping Travel King from showing his best
Top trainer Tony Cruz is resigned to never seeing the real capabilities of Travel King, but the three-year-old managed to break through and at least put a score on the board in the Tolo Harbour Handicap (1,400m).
Travel King (Matthew Chadwick) showed promise as a two-year-old last season, but was always going to be a better proposition this term - until he developed a throat problem that required tie-back surgery last September. He has been officially reported four times with mucopus in his throat since his two-year-old days, but Cruz intimated the problem was possibly even more consistent than that would suggest.
'I've heard them talking on the Chinese television commentary and saying what a great, successful surgery this horse had, which is crazy,' Cruz said. 'When a horse has to have this kind of surgery, it certainly doesn't make the horse better than he would have been without the problem in the first place. And to me this hasn't been a successful tie-back operation anyway.
'The horse has this mucopus problem constantly and I think he probably always will. He's got too much ability not to win in Class Four, but I have no doubt that we will never see how good he might have been.'
Chadwick allowed the son of O'Reilly to find his feet back in the field before unleashing him with a powerful finish.
'It's nice to get a winner again for the stable because we haven't been having the best of luck with draws or in races lately,' said Chadwick.
'Travel King looked like our best International Sale horse last season before the wind problem. He gets a bit unbalanced when he runs and still needs to strengthen up and grow but he might still win some races if he does. At least he's got one now.'