Caspar Fownes is putting his faith in Columbus County to put down a Group 1 marker in the Class 2 Time Warp Handicap (1800m) at Happy Valley on Wednesday, 28 October.
“We’ll make an entry for the Hong Kong International Races with him,” the handler said. “He’s rated 97 but hopefully that’ll change after the race on Wednesday.”
Fownes knows Columbus County will need to lift his rating to around 110 or higher to warrant an invitation to the HK$95 million LONGINES Hong Kong International Races on 13 December, but his charge proved last season that he is a stayer on the rise, lifting his rating by 15 points to a mark of 97 across seven starts.
The Redwood gelding was one of the main protagonists for last season’s BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m), posting three smart runner-up efforts before finishing a disappointing ninth in the blue riband to Golden Sixty. He closed out last term with a strong win, his first in Hong Kong, in an 1800m Class 2 at Sha Tin.
“I’m very happy with him, he’s got a lovely draw (gate one) and he’ll get his chance but he is obviously up against horses who are a little bit more race-fit than him,” Fownes said.