David Hayes hopes Fantastic Treasure’s final competitive appearance for the 2020/21 season delivers a double reward from the Class 2 Crystal Handicap (1400m) at Sha Tin on Sunday (16 May) – an extended unbeaten record and confidence to chase ambitious goals next season.
Bidding for a fifth successive victory, Fantastic Treasure will be spelled following Sunday’s outing as Hayes contemplates a tilt at the lucrative 2022 Four-Year-Old Classic Series, which features the Hong Kong Classic Mile (1600m), Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800m) and culminates in the BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m).
“He’s going to have a six-week break and then be ready in September,” Hayes said, identifying the son of Written Tycoon is the stable’s clear leading contender for the three-race age-restricted series.
“He’s my number one seed. If he was racing at home (Australia), he would be definitely a young Group-race horse.”
To be partnered by Chad Schofield on Sunday, Fantastic Treasure will carry 120lb – the lightest impost of his short, mercurial career – after making the rise to Class 2 after an incremental ratings rise from 52 points to 87 with a pair of wins in both Class 3 and 4.
Hayes is optimistic his star charge can contend with barrier 10 and more experienced opposition to keep an unblemished record.
“I’m hoping so, all the signs are good. He’s eaten all his feed and he’s in terrific order,” the dual Hong Kong champion trainer said. “He’s a great looking horse. He’s got a bit of a tricky gate, (the) C+3 (course) might be tricky but good horses tend to overcome things.