Woods hopes to send Temple off in blaze of glory
Hong Kong's most durable racehorse, Magic Temple, won't get the kind of send-off that Viva Pataca had on Sunday without racing, but Sean Woods is hoping he can retire the 10-year-old in an even better fashion on the racetrack.
The gelding will have his 119th - and last - start, all of them for Woods, and the trainer believes he has a shot at sending him out a winner.
'What a lovely stalwart he has been for the stable. We've got Douglas Whyte on him, the 1,650 metres on the all-weather is perfect and he's still going well. I would love to send him off in a blaze of glory,' said Woods. 'There are not many horses here that have their last start with the same trainer as their first, especially after seven seasons. He's had all but two of those starts in Class Three and Four, never been to Class Five, and won almost HK$6.5 million. The thing that worries me is that Magic Temple has given me my first win of the season in the past three seasons - so with him going, I'm not sure where that leaves me.'
A triumphant exit is something he has managed before, with then record-holder First Knight winning for Woods at start 111 in November 2008 and being retired on the spot.
First Knight lost his record to the Almond Lee-trained Lazy Buddies when he reached 112 starts in June last year, but Woods equalled that with Pacific Alliance last December before his compulsory retirement.
Unlike those horses, Magic Temple might hold on to his record for some time. The nearest chaser is Master Dreamer, a southern hemisphere nine-year-old with 89 starts, but he would need to have a very busy 2011-12 term to get to 120 by this time next year.