Hong Kong’s elite sprinting ranks have been dealt a blow with Thanks Forever being forced into retirement after bleeding for a second time.
The five-year-old had two Group One placings last season – finishing second in the Centenary Sprint Cup and third in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize – while winning the Group Three Sha Tin Vase and was expected to be one of the main contenders in the feature short-course events this campaign.
But those hopes were dashed on Tuesday morning, when Thanks Forever bled after a barrier trial at Sha Tin.
It was the son of Duporth’s second trial since joining Tony Cruz from the John Moore stable – he won the first.
In the off-season, the Jockey Club tightened the rules on horses who have bled to bring it into line with other major jurisdictions, meaning they now only get two strikes instead of three before facing compulsory retirement.
After originally bleeding from both nostrils after a barrier trial in December 2018, Thanks Forever is the first high-profile horse to be stood down under the new regulations.
He was the third highest-rated sprinter in Hong Kong on a mark of 123, only behind Beat The Clock (127) and Hot King Prawn (126).