Fownes sets gold standard
Popular owner James Filmer-Wilson wasn't there to see it, but he'll be more than pleased when he sees the replay of his debutant Dance For Gold making a huge impression with his victory up the Sha Tin straight yesterday.
The win by Dance For Gold (Maxime Guyon) kept Filmer-Wilson's recent record intact with first starters, as his previous horse, Famagusta, had also won on debut for Caspar Fownes.
'Famagusta was a very good horse - I think he won four of his first five starts and then he went amiss in his sixth run and that it was it,' Fownes recalled yesterday.
'Hopefully, Dance For Gold is going to get the chance to show his full potential because I really think he has plenty of it. James was supposed to be here today to see Dance For Gold run - he sent me the dates he would be in town and this was one of them but he's had a late change of plans and is away. I'm guessing he'll be pretty happy anyway.'
Fownes confessed the son of Not A Single Doubt was hardly at his top for yesterday's race after just one trial when others in the contest had had three trials or more, so he wasn't expecting too much.
'I felt he was not as well prepped as some of the others - there were quite a few who had trialled well, including him, but the others had longer preparations and I expected Dance For Gold to be a bit behind in fitness,' Fownes said.
'If he had run fourth or fifth, I would have been pleased, knowing that there was something to build on but to win like that gives me a lot of confidence in him. He will come on a lot for this.'
Not that Fownes' confidence was there the whole way, as Dance For Gold showed how new he was to the whole racing caper before arriving to score from King Of The Day right on the wire in a blanket finish that also saw Cosmic Boom and O'Halo dead-heat for the third placing.
'As I said, I thought he was quite a decent horse before the race, so when Maxime had the whip on him halfway through the race, I was quite concerned,' Fownes said.
'I knew he was better than that. But he really picked up late and was very strong on the line and I like him. He's a very nice horse, a gentleman to train and has a great way about him.'