Hot King Prawn will carry high hopes into the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) in three weeks’ time after shrugging off a wide passage and nine rivals to win the G2 Jockey Club Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin today (Sunday, 22 November).
The eye-catching grey was three quarters of a length too good for his opponents but scored with more mastery than that margin might suggest, leaving jockey Joao Moreira and trainer John Size satisfied that the six-year-old is in form good enough perhaps to snare a long-awaited first career G1.
“He’s won with authority – not to disrespect the other horses in the race because some of those might improve as well but I just couldn’t be any happier with him. He’s going to December as an improving horse; he’s a class horse, a quality horse, and we can go there with plenty of confidence – there’s no doubt that that’s the race we want to win,” the Brazilian said after Hot King Prawn held off Computer Patch and the late-charging Rattan.
Moreira and his mount have been in this position before. Two years ago, the pair sealed this race with a strong front-running display before the same approach resulted in a fading-out ninth in the LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint when favourite.
But nowadays the Size trainee has less of the precocious spark about him and a cool maturity was evident in the gelding’s manners when Moreira was faced with a four-way battle for the lead: the rider eased back to the second rank, and, when forced to accept a position three-wide, his mount, powder-pale face to the breeze, settled into a purring rhythm.
“I wasn’t worried because I knew I was going into the race with a fit horse,” Moreira said. “He’s got a little bit more mature and he hasn’t been showing as much speed as early on in his career, but I just can’t see that as a bad thing because all we want is to have a strong horse at the finish and he’s proven to be that kind of horse today. He’s one of a kind.”