Kings Shield put his rivals to the sword with a routing run to victory in the Class 2 Egret Handicap (1650m, dirt) at Sha Tin on Wednesday, 27 May.
The former British-trained import has given his handler Frankie Lor a puzzle to crack, though. The 90-rated galloper will climb high in the handicap for his latest success, and with high quality dirt-track races being scarce in Hong Kong, Lor may have to look overseas for a suitable option at a time when international travel is uncertain.
“We might run him one more time this season and then there are no more options,” Lor said. “I’ll have to talk to the owner but maybe (South) Korea is a possibility for the dirt race there (the Korea Cup), and then we might look ahead to Dubai next year if he shows us that he’s good enough. But with the coronavirus, we just don’t know yet if we can go anywhere or not.”
Lor saddled his first overseas runner in last year’s KOR G1 Korea Cup (1800m) with Glorious Artist, fourth in Seoul but down the field against his stablemate this time.
Kings Shield fared admirably in the G1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains and G1 St James’s Palace Stakes in Europe as a three-year-old but has found his groove on the Sha Tin dirt track since arriving in Hong Kong – this win was the US-bred Scat Daddy gelding’s second from four attempts on the surface.
“We raced him on the turf but he’s just so-so, he can be close but he’s not good enough. On the dirt, he’s a different horse,” Lor said.
“He likes to be up there – if he can lead that’s good but if not he can sit second and that’s good as well. He’s just different on the dirt. We’ll have to see what the handicapper does now.”