Joao Moreira believes Hot King Prawn is capable of winning a hitherto elusive Group 1 as the grey returns for his fifth Hong Kong racing season in Sunday’s (18 October) G2 Premier Bowl Handicap (1200m) with December’s top-level riches in mind.
“The main horses are not running against him in the next couple of races, so he’s going to have his opportunity now and I always thought he was a horse who was capable of winning at least one Group 1,” Moreira said.
Hot King Prawn has been in the mix for an elite success since his four-year-old season, which saw him claim two G2s and one G3 contest, but since then he has narrowly missed on three occasions in G1 company, coming closest in the 2019 LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint when second by a neck to fellow John Size trainee Beat The Clock.
But while his stablemate slowly builds up toward his return, and with the talented Aethero’s reappearance delayed by injury, the door has seemingly been left ajar for a fit 126-rated Hot King Prawn to add more wins to his tally, and perhaps a top-level success.
Hong Kong’s sprinting ranks have entered a phase of renewal, as is the normal cycle every few seasons or so, with the retirements last term of G1 winners Mr Stunning, Ivictory and D B Pin, and top-class performers Little Giant, Full Of Beauty and Thanks Forever, thus removing six 110-rated or higher sprinters from the arena.
“Hot King Prawn has been a very consistent horse, he has matched against some of these horses in the past and been very competitive, so I’m not expecting anything different other than him going there and being very competitive,” Moreira said.
And while the future is exciting with youngsters like Winning Dreamer, Sky Field, Joyful Fortune and Scores Of Fun all on-the-up, their handicap ratings are, with less than two months to go, still below the required figure to compete at December’s LONGINES Hong Kong International Races.