Dirt specialist Will Power heads off for a deserved break after putting in another virtuoso performance from off the pace in the Class One Cornflower Handicap (1,650m) at Sha Tin on Sunday.

In a six-runner race, the first three home were the last three in running for much of the contest with the pacesetters all compromising their chances by going too hard too soon.

Given a patient ride by Australian jockey Blake Shinn – who went on to complete a double aboard Telecom Missile in the Class Five Tulip Handicap (1,200m) – it was the winner Will Power who benefited most from the three-way pace battle up front between Kings Shield, Hongkong Great and Telecom Fighters.

That burn-up took its toll on the front-runners a long way out with all three pretty much out on their feet by the time the field turned for home and Will Power repeated his win of two starts ago to swoop late around the field for a cosy victory.

Will Power’s trainer Douglas Whyte was delighted with the way the race panned out and was impressed with how his galloper performed under a big weight.

“He certainly loves the surface and the race was pretty much set up for him again today,” Whyte said.

“They went really hard up front, three of them abreast, and he just came into the race at the right time, which we know he can do. But he still had to carry the weight today – they made him carry the weight – and he managed to do that.”

This was Will Power’s eighth win on the dirt in Hong Kong and he has proved a real money-spinner for connections with this victory taking him through the HK$10 million mark in prize money.

Unfortunately for his connections, there are not too many dirt races around between now and the end of the season and Whyte will resist the temptation to run Will Power on turf after he disappointed when ninth on that surface in his penultimate start.

“It’s unfortunate that we’re very limited with dirt races,” Whyte said. “However, we’ll go back, have a look at the programme and see what we come up with.

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“The horse has done beautifully this season and I think he deserves a break now. He’ll have that break and we’ll look for something at the back end of this season or possibly at the start of next season.”

Will Power has taken his form to a new level this term and has now proved his stamina over the extended mile twice this campaign. It will take a good dirt horse to lower his colours on this surface, especially if his rivals insist on going hard up front.

One of Will Power’s beaten rivals, fellow dirt specialist Hongkong Great, was again eased right off turning for home and turned in another disappointing effort, his third in a row this season.

A three-time winner on dirt last term, the Danny Shum Chap-shing runner was forced to work hard from the start but faded so soon under Zac Purton that his early exertions cannot be entirely blamed for the poor performance.

Hongkong Great was given throat surgery after he was found to have a trapped epiglottis after his previous start and his health will surely be re-evaluated as something again looked to be amiss.

With Will Power off for a spell, some of the beaten runners will look to take advantage of his absence with runner-up Red Desert and third Californiadeepshot showing more than enough to suggest they can pick up a race on this surface soon.