The likes of Wellington, Hot King Prawn, Stronger and Master Eight will duke it out in Sunday’s Group Two Sprint Cup (1,200m) at Sha Tin but the winner will have to defy history if they’re going to taste Group One success in three weeks.
No Sprint Cup winner has gone on to claim the Group One Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1,200m) in the same season since the great Sacred Kingdom back in 2008.
Last year, Wellington was a plain fifth in the Sprint Cup before going on to snare his first top-level victory with a commanding win in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize.
Wellington is likely to start favourite on Sunday which, if the past three years are anything to go by, means he can’t win.
The Sprint Cup (G2)— 𝙒𝙤𝙧𝙡𝙙𝙍𝙖𝙘𝙞𝙣𝙜 (@WorldRacing1) April 5, 2021
1200m , 4.500.000 HKD, for 4yo+
🇭🇰 Sha Tin
Amazing Star (NZ)
(6G Darci Brahma - Bright Abyss, by Royal Academy)
J : V. Borges
T: K.H. Ting
O : Grinders' Racing Club Syndicate
B : Mrs H G & W G Bax pic.twitter.com/iuc8pwIJRc
While big names like Little Bridge, Lucky Bubbles, Mr Stunning and Beat The Clock have won this race at short quotes in the past decade, it’s been anyone’s race in the most recent three editions.
Rattan saw off Beat The Clock and Mr Stunning to salute at $17 in 2019, Voyage Warrior edged Hot King Prawn at $24 in 2020 and things went to another level altogether last year, with Jimmy Ting Koon-ho’s Amazing Star pinching the race at $179.
‘At his best he takes a lot of beating’: Gibson confident as Wellington returns
The Group Two Chairman’s Trophy (1,600m) also witnessed somewhat of an upset 12 months ago with Mighty Giant – who is stuck in Conghua and can’t take his place in this year’s contest – leaving Southern Legend, More Than This, Champion’s Way and Waikuku in his wake to salute at $12.60 in a five-horse race.
This year’s iteration will see 12 gallopers go to post and outside Mighty Giant’s effort and Beauty Only’s 2018 success as a $37 chance, this race has been kind to those at, or near, the top of the market.
The Chairman's Trophy (G2)— 𝙒𝙤𝙧𝙡𝙙𝙍𝙖𝙘𝙞𝙣𝙜 (@WorldRacing1) April 5, 2021
1600 m, 4.500.000 HKD, for 5yo+
Mighty Giant (AUS)
(5G Power - Wanderov, by Ustinov)
J : @neilcallan78
T : P. Yiu
O : Mr & Mrs Li Ming On
B : Mrs C & L R Beckett pic.twitter.com/0lNMO0bpIr
Dominating the honour roll are genuine superstars Beauty Generation, who saluted at $2.55 in 2020 and $1.20 in 2019, and Able Friend, who produced wins at $1.10 in 2015 and $1.30 in 2014.
Rapper Dragon also won as favourite, delivering at $1.60 in 2017, while the other winners in the past decade – Beauty Only with his first win in the race in 2016, Packing Whiz who was successful in 2013 and 2012 victor Admiration – all got the chocolates at single-figure odds.
It should be Golden Sixty who benefits from this trend on Sunday, with Francis Lui Kin-wai’s reigning Horse of the Year sure to be tight in the market as he looks to return to the winner’s list.
Beauty Generation!— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) April 5, 2020
Hong Kong's superstar secures the G2 Chairman's Trophy with @zpurton aboard and ticks over HK$100 million in prize money. 🙌 #HKracing pic.twitter.com/7if1hIKUwG
It’s the five-time Group One winner’s first appearance in the race and should he win, he’ll look to join aforementioned champions Beauty Generation and Able Friend in parlaying Chairman’s Trophy success into Champions Mile glory later this month.
Golden Sixty is joined by three-time Group One winner Waikuku, among others, in tuning up for the Champions Mile, while Russian Emperor heads the division of gallopers plotting a course towards the QE II Cup (2,000m).
If Douglas Whyte’s Gold Cup winner was to salute on the weekend, he would be chasing a rare Chairman’s Trophy-QE II Cup double – a task that will no doubt be made easier by the absence of international participation at this season’s Champions Day.