He already has the undefeated Fantastic Treasure hurtling towards the Classic Mile and beyond and at Sha Tin on Sunday David Hayes will unveil another smart type he hopes will find himself right in the thick of next year’s Classic Series.
Helene Allibor arrived in Hong Kong in January after four starts in Australia, with the son of All Too Hard breaking his maiden in the Group Two Sandown Guineas (1,600m) in his most recent racetrack appearance in November last year.
The three-year-old gelding debuts in the Class Three Chow Silver Plate (1,600m) and will be up against it first time out, carrying 132 pounds after being handed a rating of 78 and jumping from gate 10 under Blake Shinn.
“The Derby is the optimistic view but I’d be surprised if he could win on Sunday. I think he’ll be running home nicely, he hasn’t quite acclimatised yet, but I’d be over the moon if he could win,” Hayes said.
Helene Allibor has trialled five times since arriving in Hong Kong, with a close third down the Sha Tin straight on June 8 catching Hayes’ eye.
“His trials have been pretty solid I think, the one on the grass over 1,000m I really liked, but the mile first-up at the tempo they go here is not easy,” Hayes said.
“He won a Sandown Guineas so I don’t think the mile will be a problem at all, I reckon he’d just get run off his legs at the sprints here.”
Hayes is hopeful the mile will be just the beginning for Helene Allibor as he casts his eye towards next season’s Derby (2,000m), suggesting he’ll kick the galloper off early in the new term as he plots a course towards Hong Kong’s most prestigious race.
“He’ll be a horse to follow for sure,” the trainer said. “I’ll start him about the middle to end of September looking towards the Classic Mile to start with.”
Hayes saddles up seven runners as he chases his first winner since June 9 and looks to stay in touch with the top half of the trainers’ premiership.
With 30 winners to his name, Hayes sits equal 12th of 22 trainers, one victory behind Chris So Wai-yin in 11th and three off the 10th-placed Dennis Yip Chor-hong.
Master Montaro steps out in the Class Two Ip Jug (1,400m) after a close fourth at the course and distance last start, while Fourawarrior has his first start for Hayes after being transferred from Tony Millard’s yard.
Fourawarrior ran twice over 1,000m on turf – once at Sha Tin and once at Happy Valley – for Millard but Hayes has changed things up, with the four-year-old stepping out in the Class Four Wong Cup (1,200m) on the all-weather track.
Karis Teetan was aboard for the son of Darci Brahma’s first two starts but Zac Purton takes the reins on Sunday.
“He trialled very well, I don’t know if he’s a dirt horse and he’s probably a miler but he caught Zac’s attention. It’s a nice one to pick up,” Hayes said.
Hayes also saddles up Miracle Victory in the Griffin race, Sprint Forward, Flying Sword and Eevee.