INDIAN Triple Crown winner Astonish will become the first horse from the sub-continent to race in Hongkong when he joins former Calcutta champion trainer Lawrie Fownes next season. Astonish has been the eventual choice of prominent local owner Rusi M. Shroff following consultations with the horse's breeders, the Poonawalla brothers. Dr Cyrus and Zavaray Poonawalla operate the most successful stud farm in India and have sent out an almost endless string of Classic winners from their base in the city of Pune. Astonish was actually paraded before a huge crowd at Mahalakhsmi racecourse in Bombay recently before the running of the annual Poonawalla Breeders Million. That was the official send-off from admiring fans for the Classic hero who is now quarantined in America before making the final leg of the journey to Hongkong in mid-summer. Fownes, who retains strong links with India where he trained with phenomenal success for years, said: ''I will be having talks with the owners next week but Astonish will certainly make an interesting addition to the stable. ''He is clearly a quality horse by Indian standards and I know how good they can be. The problem here may be the proper distance for him. In India, it is very much run on British or European lines with the best horses, as in England, being prepared for Classics over a mile and a half.''You don't get many of those races here which may cut back on his opportunities,'' he said. Astonish will be a rising five-year-old by the time he actually begins his racing in Hongkong but he does present a problem for the handicapping department. Now Bombay-based banker Gerald Dobby, a former race day steward at Sha Tin and Happy Valley, is a regular at Mahalakhsmi and said: ''He is a very good horse indeed. But given the present high standard in Hongkong I would have been inclined to think he would be a force in Class Three.'' But with Classic successes in his record, Astonish may well be graded higher than that when he comes to Hongkong.