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Blizzard ��spot on�� for BMW Hong Kong Derby


If Blizzard wins Sunday’s HKG1 BMW Hong Kong Derby, Ricky Yiu and his stable staff will deserve all the plaudits that come their way. The trainer and his team have spent the past few weeks teaching the talented chestnut, once a keen runner over shorter distances, how to relax in his quicker paces, and that could prove crucial to the chestnut’s chances of seeing out the 2000 metres of Hong Kong’s four-year-old showcase.

“It’s been a day by day job for the last four or five weeks, teaching him how to relax; the work rider, the groom, the whole team, we’ve been doing the best we can to help the horse so he can get the trip,” said Yiu.

The trainer has previous in this area. Yiu’s speedball, Amber Sky, a coiled spring of a horse, spent many an hour walking sedately through Sha Tin’s Penfold Park infield; switching off, conserving energy, learning to control the innate urge to bolt. A G1 Al Quoz Sprint and a HKG1 Centenary Sprint Cup were his reward.

Yiu’s tactic with Blizzard has been to introduce him to the soft hands and vast experience of Gerald Mosse. The veteran Frenchman has been up top for the gelding’s last three starts and guided him to a share of third place in last month’s HKG1 Hong Kong Classic Cup. That was over 1800m, a distance that many observers had thought was beyond a horse that, as recently as November, was being considered for a shot at Hong Kong’s best sprinters in the G2 Jockey Club Sprint (1200m). 

On 8 March, 12 days out from Sunday’s feature, Blizzard cruised through a turf barrier trial at Sha Tin. That was over a mile and Yiu’s stable star was a picture of composure. Settled back in the field of seven, Blizzard cruised down the straight to finish an easy second behind Consort.

“His trial was beautiful,” said Yiu, “he was very switched off.”

The question of whether Blizzard will switch off when it comes to the hustle and bustle of the HK$18 million Derby is one that won't be answered until he breaks from gate eight of 14 at around 5.10pm on Sunday. That draw is not exactly what Yiu was hoping for.

“The draw is not ideal but he has an experienced jockey, so I think he can cope with it,” he said. “Gerald has won a lot of big races in the world and this is a Group 1, so I’m glad we have him on board. We’ll sit down before Sunday and talk about tactics.

“The horse is in good shape. We’ve come this far, stepping up from 1200 metres, 1400, the mile; and then in the Classic Cup he was third, that was at 1800 metres and it was a good effort, so I’m pretty optimistic that he can handle the trip, at least this once.

“I’m pleased with him going in,” he added. “He’s spot on.”

Blizzard (No.2) gets the better of Thewizardofoz in a Class Two Handicap over 1400m earlier this season.
Photo 1:
Blizzard (No.2) gets the better of Thewizardofoz in a Class Two Handicap over 1400m earlier this season.


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