Tony Cruz’s mercurial galloper Time Warp will return to the scene of his stunning track record from June 2017 when he lines up in next month’s January Cup at Happy Valley.
The five-year-old was one of a host of Hong Kong’s top-liners that trialled for the first time on Friday since the Hong Kong International Races earlier this month.
Cruz’s duo of Pakistan Star and Time Warp trialled together, with Pakistan Star getting the better of his stablemate in an impressive hit-out that saw him quicken strongly over the 1,200m all-weather trip.
After struggling to find consistent form this season, Cruz will said he will set the pair on a different course to begin with, with Time Warp heading to Happy Valley to tackle the Group Three January Cup (1,800m) early next month.
“Pakistan Star will aim for the [Group One] Stewards’ Cup [over 1,600m on January 20] and Time Warp is aimed at the January Cup [on January 9],” he said.
With Pakistan Star experiencing somewhat of a merry-go-round of riders, in-form Brazilian Silvestre de Sousa has been booked for the Stewards’ Cup while Zac Purton will remain on Time Warp.
“He [Pakistan Star] showed his fitness today, I’m really happy with him, nothing is wrong,” Cruz said.
“There were no problems from his last race at all. We won’t go for the 2,400m for him any more, I think it is too far for him, just stick to the 2,000m.”
Time Warp holds the 1,800m track record at Happy Valley after he ran a 1.47:61 for his first ever victory in Hong Kong in Class Two company two seasons ago.
Since that win, he has raced just once at Happy Valley where he also won over 1,650m.
Hong Kong’s leading sprinters also returned as they build towards the Group One Centenary Sprint Cup (1,200m) on January 20.
Back-to-back Hong Kong Sprint champion Mr Stunning impressed with a wire-to-wire win against his runner-up D B Pin.
Master trainer John Size also gave his other top sprinters Beat The Clock and Ivictory a hit-out on the all-weather surface.
While only trialling against horses rated much lower than him, Ivictory showed a glimpse of his previous form that had him equally rated as Hong Kong’s top horse at the start of this season, coasting to victory by almost 10 lengths.
The five-year-old was dominant with jockey Joao Moreira in the saddle.
As Size’s stable jockey, Moreira gets his pick of Beat The Clock, D B Pin and Ivictory in the Group One event.