It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that Caspar Fownes’ 1,000th winner could be one of his biggest.

The champion trainer currently sits on 999 for his career and if he draws a blank under the lights at Happy Valley at Wednesday night, his landmark victory could well come with Sky Field in the Group One Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1,200m) on Champions Day at Sha Tin this Sunday.

The sprinter already has a win at the highest level to his name after saluting against an international field in the Hong Kong Sprint in December and Fownes has kept him fresh for this latest test.

“I’ve kept him for this finale,” Fownes said. “I skipped the Group Two Sprint Cup a couple of weeks ago to keep him for this race and it’s a move that will hopefully get us a winning result.

“He looks amazing, he’s immaculate. He’s got a couple more gallops before the race and I hope we get a nice, soft gate. He’s honest and if conditions are right, he’ll be very competitive.”

Sky Field finished a disappointing fourth in the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup last time and was ridden far more prominently than many had predicted, but this next run is likely to see him revert to his usual hold-up tactics.

“That wasn’t the plan last time,” Fownes said. “He’s not a horse who can be ridden that way because he just wants to get on the bit. He’s a competitive horse and if you put him there, he’ll just run himself out.

“You just want to be able to get him switched off, hope the pace is on and have one last crack at them. He’s very capable of running a big closing section, which he’s done many times in his career.”

Sky Field is not Fownes’ only Group One contender on Champions Day, with Columbus County and Zebrowski both back from Conghua in time to contest the Group One FWD QE II Cup, but Fownes admits their preparation has not quite gone to plan.

“I was trying to get them back a little bit earlier to put some of the finishing touches on them over here. It’s been a while between runs and I just would have loved to give them their final trial over here last Tuesday,” he said.

“A final mile trial over here would have been harder work for them, which is probably what they needed being stayers – to give them a blowout – but I’d like to think with the programme I’ve had them on, they will strip fit.”

Fownes relieved as Group One contenders return to Hong Kong

Columbus County appears to be Fownes’ best hope of QE II victory and his season has been mapped out for a while, with the Champions & Chater Cup set to be his last start of the season.

“Last year Columbus County was very unlucky in the Champions & Chater Cup,” Fownes said. “He lost a shoe 300m out, he would have won easy but for that. The shoe twisted and went through his foot, he did well to get beat half a length but he had blood coming out of his foot and it would have been very sore.

“Obviously we have Russian Emperor to beat this week and he looks to be the next champion here but we’ll certainly be making our presence felt. I planned these races for a while and hopefully we can get a nice cheque for the owners.”