Fantastico shows massive progress
Ricky Yiu Poon-fai has had a steady stream of winners this season - 30 - and Fantastico should soon be added to that list following a top runner-up performance in the Class Four ATV Miss Asia Pageant up the Sha Tin straight.
Fantastico stayed on well in his March 24 debut behind Multivictory over this course and distance and had plenty of excuses over 1,200m at Happy Valley on April 17 when nearly coming down after a severe check approaching the 1,000m.
This time Fantastico was heavily backed from 13-1 to 7-1 and he gave his backers a good sight before finishing second to impressive debutant Winfull Patrol.
Fantastico settled a handy fifth and one off the stands side after veering right to knock Copy Star at the break from gate 13, then rolled forward after shifting underneath Hurry Hurry Up at the 600m. He then challenged favourite Winfull Patrol at the 450m but found him too strong.
The three-year-old is a nice stamp of a horse and will certainly be finding his way into the winner's circle.
He is a son of the popular and effective Encosta De Lago - the father of 39 winners in these parts - none more so than former sprint champion and 17-time winner Sacred Kingdom.
His dam, the unraced Statoblest mare Diamond Jewel, is a daughter of Jewel Flight, a Listed winner and former Golden Slipper Stakes' third, and is a half-sister to seven winners over varying distances and is from the same family as retired Willie Detroy, a debut Class One winner over 1,800m and fifth in the Hong Kong Classic Mile.
While there is evidence of stamina in the bottom half of his pedigree, Fantastico is a half brother to four short-course winners, including Lago Express, a winner in Australia who failed in all seven starts in Hong Kong before his retirement.