Former Prescott-trained Time Warp pulverises Cup rivals
Time Warp, who started his career in Newmarket under the care of Sir Mark Prescott, put in a powerful display from the front to lower the colours of hot favourite Werther in the Longines Hong Kong Cup, completing a magnificent week for rider Zac Purton.
Purton, who on Wednesday won the International Jockeys' Championship at Happy Valley, sent the Tony Cruz-trained Time Warp straight into the lead and did not see another rival as he exploded clear down the straight to register a highly impressive two-and-a-quarter-length success.
Purton said: "I didn't see much speed on paper pre-race, so I thought I might get my way in front. Tony has a great deal of confidence in this horse and called me this morning specifically to talk about this one, so I thought he must be pretty keen on him.
"I think he's still improving, we're only just starting to see the best of him. He's gone to another level today."
Purton won the Mile on Beauty Only and the Sprint on Aerovelocity at last year's meeting, and had won the Vase in 2013 on Dominant, so this victory completed the set of Group 1s at this prestigious meeting.
He added: "To win any of these races is great, and this is the one that had eluded me. To get the set is the icing on the cake and it's been a great week."
Time Warp moved to Hong Kong in 2016 on the back of racking up a five-timer for Prescott, who also trained Hong Kong legend Viva Pataca in his early days when he was known as Comic Strip.
The Sir Michael Stoute-trained Poet's Word finished best of the British and Irish challengers in sixth, while the Harry Dunlop-trained Robin Of Navan was eighth.
Dunlop's wife Christina said: "He was a huge outsider yet he ran a mighty race to finish eighth, just missing out on prize-money. He beat some proven horses and was only two lengths behind Poet’s Word. Perhaps if he’d been ridden as he is in France he might have been closer, but that’s racing."
Beauty shows style
The poor recent record of the British and Irish representatives in the Hong Kong Mile continued as Lancaster Bomber, Roly Poly and Lightning Spear failed to hit the frame behind the John Moore-trained Beauty Generation, who won under a well-judged front-running ride from Derek Leung.
Beauty Generation cut out easy fractions before bursting clear to establish a decisive advantage in the straight, ensuring the British and Irish barren run, which stretches back to Firebreak in 2004, would not be broken.
Leung was understandably delighted at registering his first international Group 1 win.
“I’m very, very happy,” said Leung, who returned to a rapturous reception in the winner's enclosure as he came in with arms aloft.
“I was given an opportunity and I took advantage of it. I'm always trying to prove myself and I'm hoping there will be more international winners in the future."
Discussing how the race unfolded, Leung said: He never stops and we dictated the pace early on, so at the 450-metre pole I pressed the button a bit earlier because I knew he wouldn’t stop. He stayed on very well.”
Super Size one-two
Mr Stunning led home a one-two for trainer John Size in the Hong Kong Sprint, much to the delight of winning rider Nash Rawiller, who labelled him the "God of trainers".
Mr Stunning, one of four runners for Size, was sent off a shade of odds-on to add to a recent pair of course-and-distance victories, and he dug deep under pressure to repel stablemate D B Pin by a neck.
Rawiller said: "I was in a beautiful position with a bit of cover and the horse was in a lovely rhythm. They talk about the racing gods but I'm lucky that I get to ride for one in John Size – he's the god of trainers."
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