Time Warp set a merciless tempo to win the HK$10 million Group 1 Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup at Sha Tin Racecourse this afternoon, Sunday, 25 February.
After leading from the off under Zac Purton, the strapping chestnut was forced to go where no horse had gone before – inside two minutes over Sha Tin’s 2000 metres.
The performance was one of raw courage from Time Warp and smart timing from Purton. The five-year-old went through the middle three sectionals in 23.35s, 23.39s and 23.32s, closing off a battling home stretch run in 24.23s.
Werther took the fight to the winner through that final 400 metres. Hugh Bowman’s mount edged ahead with a furlong to race but Time Warp fought back, driving on to lower the track record to 1m 59.97s. Jim And Tonic’s old course record of 2m 00.10s had stood since April, 1999.
“That was quite some performance, wasn’t it?” Purton said of the 2/1 second-favourite. “We’ve been racing here for a long time now and there’s been a lot of good horses grace this track so it’s a credit to the horse.”
Purton set out to replicate the all-the-way tactics that had stolen December’s G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Cup at the course and distance. But unlike the untroubled lead he enjoyed on that occasion, this time Tony Cruz’s charge was harried along, with the John Moore-trained Helene Charisma pressing through the early stages.