Four-Year-Old Classic Series aspirants Champion’s Way (120lb) and Golden Sixty (114lb) will test their mettle against seasoned Group class performers in Wednesday’s (1 January) G3 Chinese Club Challenge Cup Handicap (1400m) at Sha Tin.
Champion’s Way was last season’s standout prospect for this term’s Classic Series, securing Hong Kong’s Champion Griffin award after winning six of his seven races, including the G3 Lion Rock Trophy (1600m) at his final appearance of the 2018/19 season.
But the Hinchinbrook gelding’s two outings this campaign have not lived up to expectations, a first-up ninth and a second-up seventh against Class 1 company seemingly drawing him back to the four-year-old pack.
“His runs this season haven’t looked impressive but in saying that he’s on a figure of 108 and he’s been running in Class 1 races, so I suppose that might be his mark at the present time,” trainer John Size said.
The bay’s six career wins in his first season saw him shoot from a debut mark of 52 to triple figures, drawing comparisons to previous Size-trainee Luger, who rose from a Class 4 mark of 58 and entered his four-year-old season with a rating of 100 across five starts. He went on to capture the 2015 BMW Hong Kong Derby.
Luger also didn’t fire first-up in his four-year-old season, but whereas he had health issues, Champion’s Way has had no issues on that front and Size remains hopeful that his talented galloper can spring back to the head of the pecking order.
“He’s had another short break between runs and he’ll run in this race tomorrow against a small field, so we’ll get an idea and a feel if he’s any better or if he’s going to go higher than his current figure, then he’ll go into the Classic Mile race for the four-year-olds,” he said.