Fight Hero jig-jogged along the chute to the main Meydan dirt track at 5.05am Thursday (28 March) morning as trainer Me Tsui observed rail-side.
“He’s more relaxed than in Hong Kong, this environment has helped him settle,” the handler said.
Tsui’s G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen (1200m, dirt) challenger was the first of Hong Kong’s four raiders to put his hooves on the track today. The trainer is happy with his charge, for whom Saturday’s test has been an aim since he ran a brave, unflinching second in the KOR G1 Korea Sprint (1200m) around one turn of Seoul’s sand track in September.
“I hope he can handle the track here – it’s different to Korea,” he said of the five-time Sha Tin dirt course winner.
The eight-year-old has been getting plenty of experience around the starting gates this week. Each day the gelding has circled behind and then walked through the stall, until today, when a blindfold was applied, the gates closed, and Fight Hero broke smartly without fuss.
“It’s just for education so he will be as relaxed as possible before the races, he’ll know what to expect,” Tsui said.
The trainer is pleased with how things have gone this week; from the flight over, to the trackwork, even the wide berth allotted at Wednesday’s barrier draw.
“Being drawn 10 is more suitable because he can stay out of the kick-back. He will probably be behind but we saw last year that the winner came from second-last. He was very wide in Korea but probably he will not have to be so wide here,” he said.
“After the first couple of days here he got his appetite and was eating properly and now his bodyweight is good.”
Fight Hero will not only need to live up to his name on Saturday night but also will have to be at his absolute peak – the Golden Shaheen will be the most difficult assignment of his life. The 10-strong field features four fast, top-class Americans – two-time Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Roy H, X Y Jet, Promises Fulfilled and Imperial Hint. Hong Kong’s challenger is the lowest-rated horse in the field (104), 16lb inferior to top-rated Roy H and Imperial Hint. (This morning a cloud hung over Roy H’s participation in the race, with talk circulating about a foot problem).
But Sha Tin-trained runners have a fine record in the Dubai World Cup meeting’s dirt track speed test. Sterling City caused a shock when successful in 2014 (when the track was Tapeta) and both Rich Tapestry and Super Jockey made the frame in recent years.
Fight Hero cantered a couple of circuits this morning and Tsui was satisfied.
“He galloped 1200 metres earlier this week and this morning was a slow canter, two laps, just to keep him fit, and he’ll do the same again tomorrow and Saturday morning,” he said.
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