Hong Kong’s four raiders at the Dubai World Cup meeting at Meydan on Saturday (30 March) delivered a mixed bag of the good, the fair and the disappointing.
As Almond Eye reigned imperiously over her G1 Dubai Turf (1800m) rivals, Hong Kong’s Southern Legend plugged home sixth, 10 lengths behind Japan’s super star filly and a couple of placings behind where trainer Caspar Fownes had fixed his expectations.
“To run sixth was a bit disappointing for me,” Fownes said. “I felt he would be in the first four.”
Japan hogged the first two places: Vivlos, the mare who won this race under Joao Moreira in 2017, and who was supposed to retire after a fine second to Beauty Generation in December’s G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile at Sha Tin, chased her illustrious compatriot to within a length and a quarter.
Southern Legend was only a neck behind Vivlos when third in Sha Tin’s premier mile contest; tonight, he was about nine lengths her inferior.
“His form in Hong Kong puts him right there with the second horse, they finished together in December,” Fownes said.
Zac Purton attempted to make the most of Southern Legend’s draw against the fence, breaking smartly to race at the fore. But when Century Dream soon went by to lead the field, Hong Kong’s hope slipped back to midfield: the bay lacked verve and plugged home without threatening.
“He wasn’t travelling, he was never on the bit so it was always going to be hard for him to finish,” a disappointed Purton said as he carried his saddle back to weigh in.
Fownes reported that there was no immediate reason for last season’s SIN G1 Kranji Mile winner’s sub-par run.
“He looked fine straight after the race when I checked him,” the handler said.
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