Star sprinters Peniaphobia and Not Listenin’tome squared off in a turf trial on Tuesday ahead of what looms as an explosive straight track showdown between the pair in next Saturday’s Group Three National Day Cup.
As Hong Kong’s second highest-rated horse, the Tony Cruz-trained Peniaphobia will need to lump top weight in the October 1 feature, but showed he will be a force with a strong display in testing conditions.
“He has freshened up in the off season, he jumped well and was happy with the way he finished too,” Chadwick said after the 2016 Hong Kong Sprint winner matched motors with last year’s National Day Cup winner Not Listenin’tome (Neil Callan).
The horses ripped through the early and middle stages, before Peniaphobia kicked clear late.
“He just did the usual, let him jump and find his feet – I did ask him for a little response and I got it,” Chadwick said.
Not Listenin’tome will carry 130-pounds in the 1,000m test, 10 more pounds than last year, and Callan believes the John Moore-trained track specialist can handle the impost.
“I am not worried about the weight at all, he carried 133 to win a Group Three after that win,” Callan said, referring to a tough victory in the 2016 Group Three Bauhinia Sprint Trophy, one of three course and distance wins for the horse last season. “He feels every bit as good as last season and he feels in great shape. He is all speed, he is a strong horse and he is a trier.”
Unfortunately the 1,000m trial will be the last the public see of Group Three winner Rad, the David Hall-trained sprinter finally succumbing to another leg injury after a career plagued with setbacks.
The seven-year-old won his first three starts in Hong Kong - but that was stretched over 12-months - and in the end the speedy son of Foreplay raced just 12 times, with a highlight being a win in the 2015 Group Three Bauhinia Sprint Trophy.
In the following heat, Cruz-trained miler Beauty Flame (Chadwick) showed he could be right in the Group Three Celebration Cup over 1,400m on National Day with a nice piece of work, bouncing fast and finishing strong.
Back nearly four lengths away in fifth was Group One-winning miler Giant Treasure (Callan), but trainer Richard Gibson indicated he would skip a 1,400m assignment first-up with the grey in favour of resuming in the Group Two Oriental Watch Sha Tin Trophy on October 23.