Elusive State is among Hong Kong’s top-ranking dirt-track specialists and this Saturday (26 December) at Sha Tin he’ll contest the headline act, the Class 2 Chek Keng Handicap (dirt, 1650m), with the door still ajar for another overseas campaign.
“He’s going well – I’ve given him a good preparation and we’ve given him a couple of runs this time because last year he didn’t race much,” trainer Tony Millard said. “We’ve given him those runs on the grass and he’s just not a grass horse at all, especially in the league he is having to run in – he’s been in Group 1 races and that’s a bit tough for him.”
Three of this weekend’s races will be contested on the all-weather (dirt) surface Elusive State so relishes – he is a six-time course and distance winner – and the South African handler reports that he is in good order for his second start at the track and trip this term.
“I think I’ve got him better now because I have stripped off a bit of weight, I had him a little bit big because he tended to put on weight and because there were such long breaks between the races, but he’s got top weight this time, we’ve got Joao (Moreira) on and we need a bit of luck,” Millard said.
The All American gelding was forced to mix it in Group races on turf last season with his then triple figure rating, but this weekend will look to enhance his remarkable record on the dirt, and does so off the back of an impressive trial nine days ago.
“The trial was very good – I just have to get him back on race day like that and he’ll go very close,” Millard said.