Celebrating a fourth trainers’ championship, Caspar Fownes hopes to lay the foundations for a successful defence of the title in 2021/22 by unleashing an imposing team on the Hong Kong season finale at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (14 July).
Carrying an unassailable 79-72 lead over 11-time champion John Size into the 88th and final meeting of the season, Fownes is already anticipating which of his stable’s latent talents might advance next term.
War Weapon, who contests the Class 2 Sports Road Handicap (1200m) from barrier one under Karis Teetan, is prominent among the emerging candidates Fownes has high future hopes for.
“He’s a serious horse. He’s still not there yet. He’s finding the heat in Hong Kong really hard, so he’s struggling with that a little bit,” Fownes said, before pointing to the Australian import’s stunning second-up effort behind Dublin Star over 1200m at Sha Tin on 30 May.
“He’s still got a long way to go, but what he did the time he ran second, reeling off that 21.9s sectional – it was a magic sectional – he’s the type of horse next season who is a chance to get to triple figures.
“So, off (a current rating of) 71, even though it’s his first time at the Valley, he’s got the soft gate in gate one, it’s going be tough to get around there but gate one will help him.
“Ability-wise, he’s got what it takes but I think we’ll see the real horse in six to eight months’ time.”
Previously trained by Gerald Ryan and Sterling Alexiou, War Weapon was unbeaten in two Australian starts with a pair of wins over 1200m at Kembla Grange in July and August, 2020.