Werther edges out Blazing Speed in Sha Tin thriller
Report: Hong Kong Saturday
Sha Tin: Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup (Group 1) 1m3f, 3yo+
Hong Kong's reigning Horse of the Year Werther needed every inch of Sha Tin's home straight to master Blazing Speed in the HK$10 million Hong Kong Gold Cup.
Just 24 hours after riding wondermare Winx to a 15th consecutive victory in Sydney, Hugh Bowman had to work much harder as he urged Werther past the gutsy runner-up just a stride before the line.
Blazing Speed, partnered by Neil Callan, had a dream run as he sat second off only a sedate early pace and was in the pole position as the sprint for home unravelled from the home bend.
The John Moore-trained Werther, who had sat third, lost his position as the pace quickened but Bowman gradually slipped him through the gears and just when it looked like Blazing Speed had done enough for a third top-level success, Werther appeared on the his outside to steal the prize.
Last year's QEII Cup winner now looks set for a trip to Meydan for the Dubai Turf on World Cup night.
Also on Sunday
Sha Tin: Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup (Group 1) 7f, 3yo+
Helene Paragon made it back-to-back wins at the highest level as he edged out hot-favourite Able Friend.
The winner of the Group 1 Stewards' Cup over a furlong further last month, Helene Paragon showed versatility to score over seven furlongs for the first time under Tommy Berry, making it a big-race double on the card for Moore with Werther landing the Hong Kong Gold Cup.
Werther was in fact among the horses Helene Paragon defeated in the Stewards' Cup, as was Able Friend and the former heavyweight again had to give way, this time by three-quarters of a length.
Joyful Trinity, a further neck away in third, made it a one-two-three for Moore, who had four of the card's ten winners in all.
"It's a special for the stable and for the staff," said the trainer, who has now landed five consecutive Gold Cups. "These big days are what we target, and so to have a result like this is a thrill."