A typically smooth all-weather track trial by Super Jockey has trainer Tony Millard sensing a big fresh effort on the turf by his dirt specialist in next Sunday’s Group One Longines Hong Kong Sprint.
Super Jockey has become best known for his exploits on non-turf surfaces, which have included a narrow defeat in the 2015 Group One Golden Shaheen in Dubai and a dominant Korea Sprint victory on the sand in Seoul in September.
Millard believes his veteran still has something to offer on turf though, especially fresh, and said the slick workout over 1,200m was exactly what he was looking for leading into the HK$18.5 million race.
“That’s as good as he trialled before he went to Korea, it was really good work,” Millard said after Super Jockey ran 1:08.92 under a hold by Karis Teetan, who rode the eight-year-old to victory in Korea and in another barrier trial since.
“He needed his previous trial after he came back from Korea,” Millard added. “But today, he was right there, I couldn’t be more happy with that, the power was there.”
Super Jockey’s best turf runs stack up quite well from a form perspective, even if the gelding has been unplaced in his two tries at Group One level.
It is two short-head defeats on turf at Sha Tin that gives Millard hope his horse can measure up on December 11, with the narrow losses both coming against 2016 Hong Kong Sprint rivals.
Super Jockey has been second to Aerovelocity twice, on the last occasion in the 2014 Group Two Premier Bowl, and was just edged out by Not Listenin’tome in a Class One sprint up the straight earlier this year.
Millard’s horse has also placed twice in the Group Three National Day Cup, in 2014 and 2015, running against some of the best sprinters in town – both of those runs first-up.
That type of fresh preparation is what seems to work best with Super Jockey and next start it will be three months to the day since the horse’s powerhouse performance in Seoul.
“If you look back at his first-up turf runs they’ve been very, very good,” Millard said. “Of course it is a tough race we are entered in, but anything can happen, a race is a race, and I certainly think the way he is going now that he isn’t going to be out of it.”
Super Jockey is set to return to Dubai for a third tilt at the Golden Shaheen, but Millard wouldn’t elaborate on whether or not he would target lead-up races as well.
“I don’t want to get ahead of myself, we will take this race and then look at the next target.” he said.