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Thursday (26/4) track notes ahead of Champions Day

Thu 26th Apr 2018, 08:20

Audemars Piguet QEII Cup Trainer Yasutoshi Ikee draws gate 6 for his runner Al Ain
©Hong Kong Jockey Club
Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup

AL AIN (JPN)

Was reluctant to go forward for a long time, kicking out and swishing his tail, but eventually breezed over 800m on the turf track, recording a time of 54.8s (26.6, 28.2).

Trainer Yasutoshi Ikee said: "The horse was tense in the trotting ring today, so I was concerned about how he would breeze. I never expected this at all. Thanks to the HKJC, we renegotiated and Al Ain galloped the opposite direction in the stretch. We couldn’t drive him strongly in the first part because of the short distance. The organisers were very kind and we had a lot of time with him on track, so he was driven stronger in the second gallop at the end of the straight course.  In the end I was relieved. Sometimes he’s difficult at home. He’s still green mentally but he’s in good form physically so hopefully he won’t behave badly in the race.”

DANBURITE (JPN)

APQEII Cup runner Danburite worked on the turf track over 800m under exercise rider and assistant trainer Shinichiro Kobayashi, clocking 57.6s (33.0, 24.6).

Kobayashi said: “After he warmed up in the trotting ring he went out to the turf course and cantered. He started to accelerate from the 600m pole and was driven in the stretch. He moved nicely and responded well. He did almost everything he needed to do before he came over here, so I haven’t asked him to do too much this week.  Everything has gone as planned. Tomorrow he will visit the paddock area and the starting gate for schooling.”

EAGLE WAY (HK)

Galloped over 1200m on the dirt track under big-race jockey Brett Prebble, recording a time of 1m 23.2s (30.4, 28.6, 24.2).

Jockey Brett Prebble said: “It is a pity there are no races on the dirt, he flies on the surface. He’s really comfortable on it, he loves it. He’s well, and a good shower of rain would really enhance his chances.”

PAKISTAN STAR (HK)

Covered 800m on the dirt track, recording a time of 57.0s (30.7, 26.3).

Trainer Tony Cruz said: “Pakistan Star was out on the track this morning and he’s fine, he’s a healthy horse and he’s ready for the race. He’ll be dropped in behind on Sunday so he can relax and come from the back – it’s only a small field.”

Champions Mile

SEASONS BLOOM (HK)

Galloped 800m on the turf track under Joao Moreira, who will ride him in Sunday’s Champions Mile, recording a time of 51.3s (26.4, 24.9).

Trainer Danny Shum said: “Joao came back and said that it was the best he has ever felt. That was good enough for me. I think he is even better than he was before the Stewards’ Cup.”

SINGAPORE SLING (HK)

Worked on the inside dirt track, cantering for two circuits.

Jockey Chad Schofield said: “He’s proved himself against his own age group, he’s had a nice freshen up and now he’s back to the mile. I think 1800 is his best trip but I think, being fresh, 1600 will suit. Bev Millard rides him every day in his track work and she said he’s well.”

Chairman's Sprint Prize

LUCKY BUBBLES (HK)

Worked on the inside dirt track, covering a circuit.

Jockey Brett Prebble said: “He’s going nice, he’s training well. He’s got a good bit of life about him, obviously he is going in there fresh and I think he really appreciates that.”

BLUE POINT (UAE)

Worked on the turf where he stretched his legs for a couple of furlongs under work rider Giuseppe Bussu.

Sophie Chretien, assistant to trainer Charlie Appleby, said: “He won’t go back on the grass, he’ll stay on the dirt until the race now. He’s just going to go easy for the next couple of days, we want to keep him fresh and happy, we’re not going to try anything smart, just make him enjoy himself. We’re very happy with him, he’s eating and enjoying himself so we’ve just got to hope we can keep him like that until Sunday.”

FINE NEEDLE (JPN)

Chairman’s Sprint Prize runner Fine Needle stayed in the quarantine area and stretched his legs in the trotting ring.

The assistant trainer Yoshinori Unoki said: “He has done some flat work. He stretched his legs in the trotting ring for an hour. He was fine after yesterday's breeze. I’m happy with his condition.”

MR STUNNING (HK)

Covered a circuit of the small dirt track in a slow canter

Jockey Sam Clipperton said: “I’m going into the race on a top horse so I have complete confidence in my horse’s ability and that in turn gives me a lot of confidence to do the job. We all know what he can do.”

Clipperton's confident after picking up the Mr Stunning ride

Sam Clipperton has picked up a plum spare ride aboard Mr Stunning in the HK$16 million G1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) at Sha Tin on Sunday, 29 April and is confident that the likely race favourite is the horse all others need to fear most.

THE IRISH TIMES