Best City makes life easier for Fownes
Caspar Fownes didn't use the 'D word' - Derby - when talking up Best City's Class Three win, but he certainly didn't hold back in his praise for his galloper.
Best City fought out a thrilling finish at the end of 1,400m with another Derby-aged horse who could be headed for bigger things, Liberator, with judges granted Fownes' galloper the win by a short-head.
'He's an exciting prospect,' Fownes said. 'He'll surprise us during the season and this is a horse that will keep climbing through the ratings.'
What will help Best City's prospects on embarking on a Derby path is Fownes' belief that the gelding will improve as distances increase.
'This is a nice horse, it was only his first time over this trip,' he said. 'I think this horse is quite versatile, he will get further but we'll just keep him at this distance for now and let him progress naturally at his next few runs which I think he'll do. He is above average, even though this was just a Class Three win today, he is going to get up there.
'Once he gets the right run in the race he is going to be smart, he is better than average.'
Best City certainly hasn't got the right trip at his last two starts. At Sha Tin three weeks ago he never got warm after encountering trouble all the way up the straight with Vincent Ho Chak-yiu aboard.
Yesterday Olivier Doleuze found himself posted three-wide on the $2.85 favourite and was then running on empty as the runner-up came again late after being headed.
'He had no weight in his back but he got caught three-wide so I was there,' Doleuze said. 'He is a very nice young horse and is still going to learn to improve. I thought I was going to win easier, but the other one fought back, but the second horse is a very good horse.'