Golden Dash has been a labour of love for Danny Shum Chap-shing but the veteran trainer knows that despite the abundance of patience he’s shown the promising sprinter, he’ll have to wait a little while longer for further success.
While the five-year-old races for the first time in over 10 months at Happy Valley on Wednesday night after recovering from a suspensory injury, Shum is well aware his job is far from done.
“I’m very happy to have him back but I need time to get him back to his best, he has potential,” Shum said. “This race will bring him up, he needs one or two starts to enhance his condition.”
After winning twice and never finishing outside the top four in six starts in 2018, Golden Dash bled during a barrier trial and wasn’t seen again until April last year, running fourth, third and then winning in the latter stages of last season.
He returned with blood in his trachea after that win, which came in June, and then suffered a suspensory injury in August as Shum built his fitness ahead of this season.
The son of Snitzel has his 10th start in the Class Three Crocus Handicap (1,200m) and Shum expects him to perform admirably without being brilliant.
“He’s OK but when a horse is laid off for 10 months he can’t be 100 per cent, but he will run all right. He’s very consistent,” the trainer said.
Also in the race is Dancing Fighter, who strung together consecutive wins at the course and distance before missing the start last time out and finishing eighth.
“It was a complete forgive,” said trainer Caspar Fownes. “He had to go back for an official trial and he trialled nicely so hopefully we can take advantage of him finally getting a good gate and ride him where he’s comfy.
“If there’s no speed we lead, if something goes we sit behind, it doesn’t matter. He’s a straightforward horse and he’ll make his own luck.”
Dancing Fighter jumps from gate two under Zac Purton, while Golden Dash has drawn barrier five and will be partnered by Matthew Poon Ming-fai.
Shum is more confident of success in one of the night’s other sprint contests, with Winning Ways looking to carry his good form into the Class Four Iris Handicap (1,000m).
“He’s got a lot of speed and a reasonable draw, he will be somewhere midfield and hopefully he can finish off strongly. This horse always has a chance in Class Four,” Shum said.
Purton partners Winning Ways, while Poon and Shum team up again with Baltic Whisper in the Class Three Cornflower Handicap (1,000m) – another race where Fownes will have one of the leading chances with lightly raced five-year-old Explosive Witness.
“He’s a horse with a future, there’s no doubt in my mind he’s close to a 100-rated horse,” Fownes said.
“This is the first time I have been able to actually train him going into a race, he’s just had problem after problem,” he added of the gelding, who has battled suspensory soreness and suffered a distal cannon oblique fracture in 2018.