Thunder Fantasy rallies to give Teetan a first Group 1 in Hong Kong

hunder Fantasy (K.Teetan) edged a breathtaking edition of the HKG1 Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800m) at Sha Tin today, Sunday 15 February, in a victory that owed as much to his own willing resolution as to the runner-up’s late capitulation.

Joao Moreira looked to have the race sealed when his mount, REDKIRK WARRIOR, swept by the winner at the 200m point; but the Notnowcato gelding showed inexperience on only his third Hong Kong start and his fifth overall, as he first hung out and then ducked in to offer THUNDER FANTASY a sliver of a chance.

“It looked like the horse on my outside was going to win it but then suddenly I felt he didn’t go through with it,” said winning jockey Karis Teetan, who lifted his mount in the final strides to nick the verdict by a nose. “My horse actually went again, so it was a very good win. I’m just over the moon!”

The victory, a first at Group 1 level in Hong Kong for Teetan, thrust the John Size-trained winner – and the Chris So-trained runner-up – into contention for next month’s HKG1 BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m). Beauty Only had held pole position in the pecking order for that blue riband contest prior to off-time, thanks to his victory in January’s Hong Kong Classic Mile, but Tony Cruz’s charge could manage no more than a dour fourth today.

Size was full of praise for the colt, whose sire, Lucky Owners, won the 2004 Hong Kong Derby. THUNDER FANTASY, a G2 winner and thrice G1 placed in Australia, had performed with merit without winning in three previous Hong Kong starts, including when fifth in the Classic Mile last time.

“Mr Chiu (owner) owned the horse when he raced in Melbourne and he ran third in the Victoria Derby there over 2500m as a three-year-old, which is a pretty good effort; so therefore his staying credentials were already in place. It was just a matter of him making the adjustment to Hong Kong and training up well coming through the preliminary races,” said Size.

“He hasn’t put a foot wrong the time he’s been here, even though he’s a colt, and his temperament’s been fine. He’s done exactly as we’d hoped – as the distances have gone further he’s looked a little bit better.”

THUNDER FANTASY relaxed in second spot as Twin Delight led the field in this second leg of the Hong Kong Four-Year-Old Series. As the latter faltered at the top of the home straight, Teetan found himself in front and punched for home. Redkirk Warrior’s supporters thought the race was in the bag halfway down the straight, but THUNDER FANTASY and Teetan stifled their cheers at the wire, clocking 1m 48.62s for the win.

“I’ve always believed this horse has a lot of ability and you can see today he’s done it,” said the Mauritian rider. “He settled better in the race today with a hood and the last kick he gave me to go and catch that horse was very good.

“From day one Mr Size always said the further he goes the better he’ll get. Today he went further and he won. The main thing is that he relaxed so nicely and that was good.”

The Richard Gibson-trained Giant Treasure finished third, just as he had in the Classic Mile. Meanwhile, another Size-trained Hong Kong Derby hope, Contentment, ran seventh.

“Contentment looked disappointing at first,” said the trainer. “But I think today he would probably have been better off in front; he might have settled a little better if he’d been allowed to stride a little bit more. I instructed Nash to follow the leader and that might have been a mistake, maybe he should have led.”

Size was back in the winner’s circle one race later with yet another BMW Hong Kong Derby candidate after Luger carried 133lb to success in the Class 2 Silent Witness Handicap (1600m). That gave the trainer a five-timer on the day.

Earlier in the afternoon David Ferraris found himself in the BMW Hong Kong Derby spotlight as Dynamism closed off to a cosy triumph in the Class 2 Heung Yee Kuk Cup (2000m) under Maxime Guyon. The German import made the most of a light weight (117lb) on only his third Hong Kong start to hold Mr Gnocchi (125lb) in second and fellow Derby hope Got Fly (126lb) in third.

“He’s a top, top horse,” said Ferraris. “Maxime will come back to ride him in the Derby, I booked him before this race to come back for the Derby, that’s how confident I was today.”

The Hong Kong Four-Year-Old Series comprises the HKG1 Hong Kong Classic Mile, the HKG1 Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800m) and the HKG1 BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m). The third and final leg, the BMW Hong Kong Derby will take place at Sha Tin on Sunday 15 March.

Posted by on Feb 23 2015. Filed under Hippisme. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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