Classic Unicorn sealed a Chris So double with a smart win in tonight’s (Wednesday, 7 October) feature, the Class 2 High Island Handicap (1000m), justifying his handler’s belief that this could be the promising chestnut’s ‘coming-of-age’ campaign.
After an unbeaten debut season, the five-year-old mixed his form last term but saw off a strong field of sprinters at Happy Valley to take his eye-catching record to four wins from eight starts.
“He’s five years old now, he’s calmer, he’s mature, and he has more confidence,” So said. “This year he has put on weight, because the last two years he was quite skinny but after the summertime, he’s come back different.”
Derek Leung fired the gelding out of gate 10 to skip along close to the speed in a wide alley and had to work for the lead before pouring on the pressure at the 550m mark. The speedster kicked on in the straight to score by one and three-quarter lengths ahead of the fast-finishing Gunnison and third-placed Multimillion, while the race-favourite, Highland Fortune, could only manage fourth.
“He’s more relaxed, he still has the early speed but it’s not crazy and that’s why he can finish off – he’s older now, mentally stronger and everything about him, he’s just grown up,” Leung said.
“Because he has so much early speed, if someone challenged him, he would fight back and not give up, that’s why he used to use too much energy early. We went fast but he felt as if he had something left, I had confidence in him.”