If there were any queries over Fantastic Treasure’s potential, there was a resounding answer at Sha Tin on Sunday when the three-year-old steamed to victory while carrying the proverbial grandstand.
The David Hayes-trained galloper marked his 2022 Classic Mile credentials in the meantime, with the handler declaring him the best horse he has produced this season.
After travelling sweetly off the speed, the son of Written Tycoon monstered his rivals, putting the race to bed 150m from home when jockey Chad Schofield asked for an effort.
“I think that was a sign of a really progressive, good young horse,” a delighted Hayes said.
“I love the way you can ride him, out the back or the front, he goes through the traffic – he has no blinkers or anything on – so I think he will be a very nice horse for the Classic Mile next year.
“He will have one more race in two weeks and then a holiday. Chad said that was his easiest race and he drops in weight in Class Two.”
Now unbeaten in four starts, Fantastic Treasure joins Courier Wonder as the stand-out three-year-olds to date.
“There is him and John [Size’s] horse [Courier Wonder] that are doing it and we know this one will run ground,” Hayes said. “His probably will too which is frightening but I know mine will get a mile no problem.
“I think he’s [as good as I’ve had this season], Master Montaro was good because it was hard to win off his rating as a [previously raced horse] but this one is more foolproof.”
Schofield gave a ringing endorsement of the up-and-comer, saying he cannot wait to see how he performs with the weight off his back in Class Two company.
“What he did shouldn’t be underestimated because he is a three-year-old with top weight and there are no easy Class Threes,” he said.
“I think we can get a line with Courier Wonder, he only just won with top weight in Class Three and then he went on to donkey-lick them in Class Two with a light weight. It is a big task but he passed with flying colours.”
It capped a double for a relieved Hayes after his debutant Ka Ying Spirit snuck home to deliver for owner Lo Yu-sai in the Class Four Isle Of Man Handicap (1,000m).
After seven trials in the lead-up to his first start, Ka Ying Spirit was sent out a $2.60 favourite and held off Blake Shinn aboard $31 chance Corrienthes by a short head.
“The owner was very keen to win first time so it was good to get the job done,” Hayes said. “He was just very green his first few trials, especially in Conghua. He did his early trialling in Conghua and he needed the senior jockey to educate him.”
Zac Purton was aboard Ka Ying Spirit on Sunday after partnering the three-year-old in his past four trials.
“Zac at the 300m thought he might win very easily but when it was time to go he was a bit lost and stargazed, so I was relieved he held on,” said Hayes, who bought Ka Ying Spirit in Australia in 2019.
“The horse that was racing him was race fit and we’re just starting our career. I think he’ll have another run in late May or June and then holidays.”
While everything went to plan for Ka Ying Spirit, it was quite the opposite for the Caspar Fownes-trained Seven Heavens after the son of Frankel ploughed through the outside running rail on his way to the gates and had to be scratched with a cut to his right hind leg.