Jockey Karis Teetan believes that Wishful Thinker has what it takes to get to stakes company this preparation, with the Richard Gibson-trained gelding set to tackle Sunday’s (16 September) Class 2 Woodpecker Handicap (1000m) at Sha Tin.
Wishful Thinker, who won two of his first six starts in Hong Kong last season, stepped out for the first time this term in the Class 1 HKSAR Chief Executive’s Cup Handicap (1200m), the traditional season opening feature. Despite finding himself 11 pounds out of the handicap, carrying 113lb when he would have carried 102lb under a true spread, the I Am Invincible five-year-old ran home solidly for third behind Winner’s Way, indicating to Teetan that he could potentially be a Group-class sprinter by season’s end.
“I think he can make the grade,” Teetan said at Sha Tin on Friday morning (14 September). “Even last time, when he stepped up to Class 1 company, he was competitive even though he was so far out of the handicap. He’s got the ability for it and I think he’s still got improvement left in him.
“Last time out, he came out nicely and he got a nice position, we were trying to ride him closer. I think we know now though that’s not the way to ride him. The horse of Caspar’s (Southern Legend) came off the rail and after that my horse wasn’t travelling and when he doesn’t travel, you can’t keep him balanced so he needs to be on the bridle, nice and comfortable. If you let him relax, he’s capable of showing that amazing turn of foot he has.”