On the Rails
with Alan Aitken
Race jockey Olivier Doleuze reported all was well with Golden Shaheen contender Dynamic Blitz after riding him in trackwork in Dubai yesterday morning, and Ricky Yiu Poon-fai's sprinter is a serious contender for the US$2 million race, which is part of the ever-rising story of Hong Kong on the international scene.
Doleuze worked Dynamic Blitz over 1,200m on the Tapeta surface at Meydan, reporting the sprinter went quite freely early, not unexpected after he had done little since his Group Three Al-Shindagha Sprint win there over a month ago.
'He blew up in the last 200 metres and he definitely needed the work, but he looks great, his body weight is good and his action felt great,' Doleuze said yesterday.
Yiu and the horse's connections elected to miss last week's Group Three Mahab Al-Shimaal at Super Thursday once it was confirmed Dynamic Blitz would gain a place in the Golden Shaheen and no new contender for the big one emerged from that race, won by Bankable, who was second in the Duty Free last year and is apparently headed there again.
Once, a lone horse from Hong Kong like Oriental Express or Indigenous or Fairy King Prawn travelling to contest a Group One on foreign soil was an oddity but, such has been their success at international level in the past decade, that time is long past.
On World Cup weekend, there looms the prospect of as many as seven Hong Kong horses doing battle for four different international Group One events in Dubai and Japan - certainly a new benchmark for horses from this jurisdiction.
On World Cup night, Dim Sum and possibly stablemate Sunny King will join Dynamic Blitz in the chase for the Golden Shaheen; Beauty Flash will chase the Dubai Duty Free; and trainer Sean Woods is hoping to hear King Dancer has been offered an invitation to the Sheema Classic.
On the Sunday, sprinters Green Birdie and Joy And Fun will take our attention as they tackle the Takamatsunomiya Kinen at Hanshin in Osaka, Japan,
In a jurisdiction with only the 1,200m-1,300m horses in training at Sha Tin, that is an impressive array and particularly pleasing that the seven horses are from six different yards. Victory in any of the races would not come as a shock.
It's a long way from the days when background sniggering accompanied any overseas defeat for Hong Kong's best horses, viewed along the lines of 'what were they thinking?' And the mockery wasn't coming from outside of Hong Kong either, with many local identities considering international racing a dubious, quixotic quest.