Amber Sky streaking clear in the Centenary Sprint
Amber Sky too quick in Centenary Sprint
Report: Hong Kong, Sunday
The Kent & Curwen Centenary Sprint Cup (Hong Kong Group 1) 5f, turf, 3yo+
AMBER SKY (Ricky Yiu/Joao Moreira) breezed to victory in Hong Kong's minimum distance championship on Sunday to set up a possible international sprint campaign later in the year.
A sixth career victory down Sha Tin's 5f chute paints Amber Sky as a straight track specialist and with the remaining two legs of the Hong Kong Speed Series around a bend and over further, trainer Yiu might find it difficult to resist the lure of the more valuable Al Quoz Sprint on Dubai World Cup night and also the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Ten runners went to post for the Sunday's feature but Amber Sky broke best, crossed to lead along the strongly favoured stands' rail and the 11-8 favourite never saw another rival.
Joao Moreira, winning his second Group 1 in a week, was able to ease down the Australian-bred son of Exceed And Excel for a winning margin of two and a quarter lengths from 56-1 outsider Straight Gold.
"He jumped so well and that put him where he likes to be, in front, and I just waited until I needed to push the button," Moreira said. "He just quickened away. His best is down the straight and I'm looking forward to seeing where he ends up."
Winner of this race twice before with the great Sacred Kingdom, trainer Yiu indicated he will still consider the second leg of the Hong Kong Speed Series, the Chairman's Sprint Prize, over 6f on February 16.
"I didn't expect him to win so easily today so we will consider it [the next leg of the series] before we decide on Dubai," he said.
"We have entered for the Al Quoz at Meydan as a straight sprint is what he's best at."
Eagle Regiment, winner of the two most recent editions of this race, never appeared happy down the centre of the track and came home disappointingly in last place.