The John Size-trained Hot King Prawn (123lb) is looking to stamp his authority on Hong Kong’s sprint ranks in Sunday’s (5 April) G2 Sprint Cup (1200m) at Sha Tin when he faces off against boom three-year-old Aethero (119lb) among a competitive field of eight.
The Denman gelding finished second to stablemate Beat The Clock in last year’s G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) with Aethero close behind in third. But with Beat The Clock out for the rest of the season, the door has opened for Hot King Prawn to lay claim to the mantle of Hong Kong’s premiere sprinter.
“He’s in good shape and he’s finally showing his maturity and his development – he’s at the right age for these good sprint races and he’s had no interruptions since he started at the beginning of the season,” trainer John Size said, adding, “he’s very strong.”
The five-year-old has come back to peak form this campaign having recovered from a colic surgery early last year. He quashed concerns quickly this season with a first-up second to Aethero in the G2 Jockey Club Sprint (1200m) last November, and has since gone from strength-to-strength adding a further three consecutive G1 placings to his resume before a Class 1 success last start.
“It’s always a concern – you have to think about their problems and the injuries they have had but he doesn’t seem to have missed a beat this season – he’s been strong all the way through,” Size said.
If successful, the grey will join Mr Stunning (2017) and Beat The Clock (2018) as Size trainees to have won the Sprint Cup since 2012, and a win on Sunday would be Joao Moreira’s third after pairing with both of those past winners. The Brazilian’s mount will break from gate one in the HK$4.25 million sprint.
“He’s more professional now, he’s extremely mature and he’s not a horse that you can expect will do things wrong – he’s definitely one of the best sprinters in town,” Moreira said of Hot King Prawn.