Racing News  

Blizzard has questions to answer in Classic Cup test


There are plenty of questions to be answered in Sunday’s enthralling edition of the HK$10 million HKG1 Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800m), as Hong Kong’s top four-year-olds jostle for pole position in the lead-up to the HKG1 BMW Hong Kong Derby. Trainer Ricky Yiu is looking for some signal that will determine whether or not the resilient talent, Blizzard, has the stamina and the mindset to take his place in next month’s 2000m showcase.

Yiu has stated in the past that he considers his charge to be more sprinter-miler than stayer and six career wins from 1000m to 1400m would seem to give weight to that line of thinking. But the Derby is a once-in-a-lifetime race, exclusive to Hong Kong’s four-year-old crop, and so Yiu and Blizzard’s owners, the Infinitude Syndicate, find themselves rolling the dice in this weekend’s premier Derby lead-up.

That roll has a lot to do with the Starcraft gelding’s solid third last start behind Sun Jewellery and Werther in the HKG1 Hong Kong Classic Mile, allied perhaps to the tantalising traces of stamina in his pedigree.  One thing Yiu does know for sure is that if Blizzard, drawn 10 of 12, is to last the full distance on Sunday then the battling chestnut must put aside his natural tendencies and settle early into a relaxing rhythm.

“I’m very happy that we have Gerald Mosse on him again,” said the trainer. “The horse needs to relax going up in distance and if Gerald can get him to do that and not use himself too much in the early part, I think he will run well.

“It’s still a big task, sending him over 1800 metres against an in-form horse like Werther who has already proven he’s a stayer - it’s a pretty strong field when you factor in Sun Jewellery as well.”

Blizzard’s sire, Starcraft, won over 2400m at G1 level but made his mark internationally as a crack miler. His dam, a modest maiden, is a half-sister to a number of speed oriented types but the best of her siblings was Danestorm, who most notably won the G1 Brisbane Cup over a marathon 3200m. Sunday’s race will likely provide the answer as to whether or not Blizzard has inherited any of that innate stamina. Yiu is open-minded.

“If he runs a race, we’ll see about the Derby,” he said. “The owners are keen but the distance has to be a query, so we’ll just have to wait and see.”

The fascinating field of 12 also features classy imports such as G1 St James’s Palace Stakes (1600m) third Consort, English Derby (2400m) fourth and Irish Derby (2400m) third Giovanni Canaletto, G1 winners Friends Of Ka Ying and The Monarch, as well as California Disegno, Green Dispatch, White Magic and McQueen, and the improving Eastern Express.

Sunday’s 10-race card begins at 1pm with the Class 4 Butterfly Handicap (1200m). The Hong Kong Classic Cup is race seven, due off at 4.05pm, and the afternoon also features the Class 2 Yan Oi Tong Cup Handicap (Race 5 - 3pm) over 2000m, which has attracted three BMW Hong Kong Derby entrants in Victory Magic, Cloud Nine and Rickfield. Another with Derby aspirations, Hero Look, is engaged in the day’s penultimate contest, the Class 2 Tai Hing Handicap (1400m) at 5.10pm.


Related Website�G

Hong Kong Classic Cup


Copyright © 2000-2024 The Hong Kong Jockey Club. All rights reserved.