Rainbow Chic 'going places'
Fownes hopes his galloper can back up in the Queen Mother but faces a selection dilemma
Rainbow Chic came up one and one-quarter lengths short of his ultimate goal, the BMW Hong Kong Derby, last month, but gained some consolation with an impressive Class Two victory yesterday and will get another crack at Group-race glory next week - leaving his trainer Caspar Fownes with a conundrum.
After showing an impressive turn of foot to put away a field that included four of his Derby rivals over 1,800m, proving that his closing fourth in that race was no fluke, Rainbow Chic will run in Sunday's Group Three Queen Mother Memorial Cup over 2,400m.
Winning jockey Brett Prebble said Rainbow Chic was "a horse for the future" and would benefit from the seven-day back-up.
"He is only a young horse and he might get better next season. He is only little but he is courageous, he gets his head up and ears back and tries hard," said Prebble, who added that he was still learning about the relatively untapped French import.
"He has got an awesome 150m sprint - and next time I ride him I'll be mindful of not pressing him too soon, because it is instant when he goes, but backs off quick and his sprint doesn't last as long as you think it is going to."
Rainbow Chic still wanted to get his head in the air and overrace a touch when the pace slowed, something that Prebble hopes will improve with time.
"He is still a bit keen, the race wasn't perfect for him. I'd like to get him straight into some cover but there was some space in front of him in the race and he wanted to get into that spot," he said.
The question for Fownes, who also has Victor Delight entered in the Queen Mother Cup, is whether to nominate the 123-rated Thumbs Up, who closed off strongly for seventh after settling near-last in the Audemars Piguet QE II Cup.
If Fownes enters Thumbs Up, it would mean his lower-rated pair would be given featherweights in the 80+ handicap, but as a result, the trainer could be left without senior riding options. "Thumbs Up holds the key to the race, if I put him in it affects my other runners," Fownes said. "We have to look at the race, if Thumbs Up doesn't run, it could raise those bottom weights to 118 and it opens up some riding options. We have to see how Thumbs Up pulls up anyway as it wasn't our original plan with him but he ran so well today that we are considering it."
Prebble later brought up a double when Medallist, on a eight-day back-up, won the last, with trainer David Hall saying "it was a win the horse deserved."
"He has had some unlucky runs earlier this season at Happy Valley, then we changed tack and put him on the all-weather track," Hall said.
"He put in a winning run last week when runner-up. The horse that beat him, Eagle Power, might be pretty good I think and they had the others covered."