Thoroughbred Daily News
Pioneerof the Nile Empire Maker - Star of Goshen, by Lord At War (Arg)
, | 2006 | Entered Stud 2010 | 2019 Fee N/A

Dubai Dreams Alive for Wishful Thinker

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Wishful Thinker edged closer to a possible run in Dubai at Happy Valley | HKJC photo

By Alan Carasso

Wishful Thinker (Aus) (I Am Invincible {Aus}) holds an entry for the G1 Al Quoz Sprint up the six-furlong straight course at Meydan Mar. 30, but any realistic chance of making the field for that US$2-million event hinged on his performance in the featured Class 1 Happy Valley Trophy H. (1200m) Wednesday evening. Sent off the $6.10 third favourite, the bay made life difficult on himself with a tardy dispatch, but he darted through from between rivals inside the furlong and was shoved across the line first by Alexis Badel for a nifty success.

Dropping in grade off a third-place effort in the G3 Bauhinia Sprint Trophy H. Jan. 6 in which he reared at the break and was bumped, then was short of room at a critical juncture (video), Wishful Thinker raced last but one for the opening half-mile around the city circuit. But the 5-year-old was stoked up by Badel 400m out and closed off in a race-fastest :22.82 to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat (video).

“It was a fantastic performance from the horse again,” winning trainer Richard Gibson told the HKJC’s David Morgan. “I thought he was the best horse going into the race but he’s pretty unsuited to this track, he loves a straight 1200, so with a bit of luck we’ll be on our way to Dubai.”

Added Badel, who now sits on 10 winners and concludes his injury-interrupted winter contract this weekend: “He’s very talented and it’s impossible to say how much he might improve after this. He’s always moving a little bit in the gate, he’s just like this and there’s nothing you can do as a jockey–just try to relax him and focus him because he is his own enemy.”

An A$80,000 purchase by Damon Gabbedy’s Belmont Bloodstock Agency out of the 2015 Magic Millions Gold Coast March Sale, he was bought back for A$120,000 out of the Inglis Ready 2 Race Sale later that year. Raced in Australia as Katsuro, he was a Ballarat maiden winner at second asking for trainer Mick Price and closed that portion of his career with a handicap tally at Moonee Valley in June 2017.

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