Horse Racing
Rise High headed for the big leagues, says Fownes

By Andrew Hawkins
18/05/2018 13:05

Rise High opens his Hong Kong account last start.
Rise High opens his Hong Kong account last start.

Trainer Caspar Fownes believes that Rise High is a horse headed for Hong Kong’s biggest races and hopes that the four-year-old can take a further step along that path when he contests Sunday’s (20 May) Class 2 Tourmaline Handicap (1600m) at Sha Tin.

Fownes was on hand at Sha Tin this morning (Friday, 18 May) to watch his highest-rated horse Southern Legend finish first past the post in an all-weather track trial. The five-year-old flies to Singapore overnight, along with the Tony Millard-trained Horse Of Fortune, to contest next Saturday’s (26 May) Kranji Mile.

However, Fownes’ immediate focus is on Rise High, with the trainer suggesting that the Myboycharlie gelding may end up as a foe for Southern Legend in the next couple of seasons.

“Rise High is a horse I’ve always had a huge opinion about,” Fownes said. “He missed the Derby but I’ve always thought he was the type that could get to that level. For me, he’s a horse that will reach 110 points, no problems. Then, once they hit that mark, it’s like every horse here – you have to step them up into Group races and see whether they can do it.

“I feel he is that type of horse though because he’s still got a bit of a shell there, there’s something to work with. The next three months, if he can put on 40 or 50 pounds, which is what I am looking at, I think we’ve got a serious horse for next season – a Group-calibre horse.”
Rise High returned from a two-month break on Champions Day (29 April), producing a strong win under Zac Purton over the same course and distance as Sunday’s contest.

“Hopefully he can come out and do the same thing again on the weekend,” Fownes said. “He’s very well and he’s got a good gate (three) so he’ll get his chance.”

Purton will ride Rise High (130lb) once more in Sunday’s contest.

Another four-year-old potentially heading for Group company is Morethanlucky (130lb). The Frankie Lor-trained galloper has not raced since finishing eighth in the Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800m) in February, but had impressed when finishing third to Nothingilikemore and Singapore Sling in the Hong Kong Classic Mile a month earlier.

Morethanlucky scores his fourth win for the season in January.
Morethanlucky scores his fourth win for the season in January.

That followed four wins from five starts to begin the season, all with Karis Teetan in the saddle. The Mauritian rider is in the plate again on Sunday.

“He’s going well after his break,” Teetan said. “He trialled last week and it was pretty good, it was fairly easy for him. I think the horse likes being fresh so he’s ready to go again.

“He’s always shown plenty of class so we knew he would go up in the ratings. He ran against some really good horses and didn’t disgrace himself, and then he had the little setback after the Classic Cup. Back to Class 2 and 1600m, it’s never an easy task as they can all run in Class 2 but I think he can run a bold race.”

Size celebrates Australian Racing Hall Of Fame honour

Trainer John Size will be inducted into the Australian Racing Hall Of Fame.
Trainer John Size will be inducted into the Australian Racing Hall Of Fame.

Lor’s former boss John Size saddles up Sergeant Titanium after what has been a significant week for the Australian trainer.

Size will be inducted into the Australian Racing Hall Of Fame at a function in Sydney tonight, becoming the third Hong Kong champion trainer – and the first active Hong Kong horseman – to attain the honour.

George Moore, who won 11 championships between 1973/74 and 1984/85, was an inaugural member in 2001 and is one of eight inductees who have been afforded “Legend” status, although this was primarily for his feats in the saddle. Two-time champion David Hayes was also inducted in 2008.

“It’s a great honour and I’m very grateful to have such an award bestowed on me,” Size said. “It’s been a long road that we’ve travelled and to eventually get recognition like this, it gives me satisfaction.

“It came as quite a surprise – I’ve known for a few months now, but when Mr (Bob) Charley, who is the Chairman of the Australian Racing Hall Of Fame, called me, I was a little bit taken aback. As time has gone on, though, I’ve got used to the idea and now I’m very happy about it.”

Size’s next target is his 10th trainers’ championship. He sits 24 wins ahead of Lor and seemingly has the title in his keeping, but he says he is not confident that Sergeant Titanium (129lb) will help him add to his tally in the next two months.

“He’s won nine races in Hong Kong, which is no easy feat,” Size said. “He’s been here for some time though and he is probably coming towards the end of his career. I also think he runs his best races in the winter – it’s been a very hot week, so I’m not sure he will like that. I’m a bit guarded about his prospects from here on, I think he’s probably done his best for the season.

“If can win on the weekend or in his next race, which will be over 1800m next month, I would be surprised but I would be very happy about it. He’s healthy, he’s fit, he’s well and he’s sound, but the heat might prove too difficult for him.”

Also among the 11 runners in the Class 2 are the John Moore-trained three-year-old Easy Go Easy Win (132lb), trainer Tony Cruz’s Doctor Geoff (126lb) and last-start winner Coby Boy (125lb) for Benno Yung.

The Tourmaline Handicap is the last of 10 races and is scheduled for 5.45pm, with the opener, the Class 4 Alexandrite Handicap (2200m), to begin the card at 1pm.