Senor Toba added further weight to this year’s Hong Kong Derby form when running out an easy winner of the Group Three Queen Mother Memorial Cup (2,400m) at Sha Tin on Sunday.

The Caspar Fownes-trained grey finished fourth behind Romantic Warrior, California Spangle and Money Catcher in the city’s premier four-year-old race in March and was heavily backed into $1.6 favourite as he stepped up in distance.

Always travelling well under Joao Moreira just behind the pacesetter Enjoying, Senor Toba got a dream run up the rail turning into the straight and stayed on strongly to win by two lengths.

“He’s done things better today than in the past,” Moreira said. “He jumped better. It was always going to be a slowly run race but we expected him to be a bit further back. I was in a position where I was unable to make the early move that I would have liked to.

“The slow-run sections forced him to just sit there and dash home. I was coming out to try to get to the outside of the two leaders at the top of the straight, but I could see the leader moving off the fence and leaving me a nice gap on the inside so I just went for it.

“When I was about to pass, I had to squeeze and that just held me back a little bit but once he really put his head fully into it, he dashed home like a good horse and hit the line in a way that impressed me quite a bit.”

Fownes has made no secret of his belief in the ability of his stayer and he was delighted to see his star pick up his first win since December.

“He’s done it really nicely,” Fownes said. “Obviously they crawled but it wouldn’t have mattered either way, if they went hard it would have been even better for him.

Trainer Caspar Fownes and jockey Joao Moreira enjoy Senor Toba’s win.

“He’s a real proper stayer, a really good horse and now we go forward to the [Group One] Champions & Chater Cup [on May 22] with him.

“I believe he’ll just keep improving. We’ll just keep going forward but he’s a serious horse for the future. I didn’t even trial him between the Derby and this race.

“We gave him some nice long work and he enjoys that way of training and he’ll pretty much do the same going forward to the next race.”

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Fownes also believes Senor Toba could be the ideal type to travel to Australia.

“We’ve always thought he’s a Caulfield Cup, Melbourne Cup horse as he stays well. Those races are handicaps and at the moment he’s a handicap horse,” Fownes said.

“Once he gets into the Group Ones it’s a different ball game and that changes things in terms of the ratings and the weights they carry.

“We’re here, we want to concentrate on Hong Kong and have the opportunity to take him where we want going forward but we look forward to the next race in three weeks.”

While Fownes has one potential star over staying distances, he has another up and comer over shorter distances as just half an hour after Senor Toba’s victory, the trainer was back in the winner’s enclosure after progressive three-year-old Galaxy Witness extended his unbeaten record to four in the Class Three Inch Arran Handicap (1,400m).

“He’s a nice horse, he keeps progressing and he’s going the right way,” Fownes said. “He’s got his best racing ahead of him and he’s going to be a good horse for next season.

“We’ve always felt from day one that he’s a miler. We’ve built him up nicely by mixing up his distances and he’s a really nice horse.”