Scarlett Camellia's upset victory allows Shum to dream of Derby bid
Jockey Zac Purton and trainer Danny Shum Chap-shing are developing a habit of unearthing some talented gallopers on debut, and while the winner Scarlet Camellia has a long way to go to emulate the feats of stable star Little Bridge, the camp still has high hopes for the three-year-old.
Next year's Derby is already on the cards for the son of Irish stallion Spartacus, and Shum is hopeful he has found a nice stayer to aim at the race this year, instead of having to extend a good sprinter to 2,000 metres.
'His finish today was very good, he has a lot of natural ability and there is no doubt he will get over more ground,' Shum said, 'To look at him, he does not look like a son of Spartacus, he is more like his dam's sire Nashwan, and that is why I am looking forward to stepping him up over more ground.'
Purton (pictured) and the Scarlet Camellia combined to spring the first upset of the day by overhauling odds-on favourite Fortune General in the Mirs Bay Handicap (1,200m), powering past the John Size-trained runner to a three-quarter length win.
'He progressively picked up in his work and after his trials he kept making small amounts of improvement, and his last gallop when he worked with two other horses was the best piece of work he's done,' Purton said.
'It was still hard to come here confident today, because he felt more like a miler in his gallops. It's only early but Danny is already looking towards next year's Derby with the horse, so the only worry today was whether the 1,200 metres was going to be a bit short for him.
'With a good deal of speed in the race, and not much depth, he found himself in a winnable race first-up. He still had to do the job over the last furlong, but he knuckled down good and found the line really well.'
Shum's star galloper, Little Bridge, knocked up badly in the Derby after a tough run, and will now be spelled for the remainder of the season before he makes his attempt on the top-class sprints next term.