Senor Toba’s emergence as a legitimate BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) contender continued at Sha Tin on Monday (27 December) with the grey’s stout victory in the Class 2 Hong Kong Sports Institute 30th Anniversary Cup Handicap (2000m), fuelling Caspar Fownes and Joao Moreira’s hopes of successive triumphs in the Classic.
Fownes and Moreira combined last season with Sky Darci and the pair is optimistic Senor Toba can emulate the feat with success on 20 March in the HK$24 million contest next year.
“He’s one of my Derby horses. He’s a lovely horse, it’s nice to see them come and do that in their third run in Hong Kong. It was a very pleasing effort. He was a little bit like a drunken sailor down the straight – all over the place – so I’ll be looking at putting some equipment on him to help him focus a little better,” Fownes said.
“He did his job nicely but he’s a horse that will keep improving. You’ll probably see the best of him in December but this is his Derby season, so we’ll be going forward to try to get a good result there. But this horse, I think once he gets over 2400 (metres), he’s a very good horse and he’ll keep improving.”
Last season’s champion trainer, Fownes might bypass the HK$12 million Hong Kong Classic Mile (1600m) at Sha Tin on 30 January with Senor Toba to avoid a drop in distance.
“It’s the Four-Year-Old Classic Series and he’s secured his place there now – but he needs a little bit more racing. I’ve just got to tweak his equipment a little bit to sharpen him up, he’s a little slow out of the gates – we’ve got to get that sorted out,” Fownes said.