'Emperor' Outbattles 'Warrior' In Champions and Chater Cup

Russian Emperor put them back-to-back in the Champions and Chater Cup | HKJC


Russian Emperor (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) has been campaigned ambitiously this season, with stops in Doha and Dubai, but the 6-year-old saved his best for last, running down heavily favoured Romantic Warrior (Ire) (Acclamation {GB}) to successfully defend his title in Sunday's G1 Standard Chartered Champions and Chater Cup, the last of 12 Group 1 events on the annual Hong Kong racing calendar. Longshot Five G Patch (Ire) (Camelot {GB})–a two-time winner from two runs for Joseph O'Brien when racing as Collins Street (Ire)–went a massive race to be third in spite of a rating some 30 pounds inferior to the winner.

Money Catcher (NZ) (Ferlax {NZ}) mapped as the chief speed of the Champions and Chater, but when Derek Leung elected not to go on with it, Zac Purton was left no option but to make the running with Romantic Warrior, trying 12 furlongs for the first time having won the G1 Longines Hong Kong Cup and G1 FWD QE II Cup over a mile and a quarter this term. Romantic Warrior can get fired up in his races, but he settled kindly enough and took them past halfway in 1:15.51, just outside standard clocking of 1:15.15.

While Money Catcher ensured that Romantic Warrior would not get loose on the lead, Russian Emperor was ridden back in the field by Hugh Bowman, knowing full well that his mount's best asset was his ability to run a strong 2400 metres, while the distance was the potential fly in the ointment for Romantic Warrior. Purton upped the tempo a bit on the final turn and Romantic Warrior gave a good response when asked for a sprint in upper stretch. As late as 150 metres from home, it appeared he'd left the others too much to do, but Russian Emperor ultimately called upon his superior stamina and was along late to join the likes of River Verdon (Ire), Indigenous (Ire), Viva Pataca (GB) and Exultant (Ire) as back-to-back winners of the race.

Russian Emperor became the first overseas runner for trainer Douglas Whyte when saluting in the Listed H. H. The Amir Trophy in Qatar in February and he was a highly creditable fifth in the G1 Jebel Hatta at Meydan over an insufficient 1800 metres the following month. Eighth to Equinox (Jpn) (Kitasan Black {Jpn}) in the G1 Longines Dubai Sheema Classic Mar. 25, Russian Emperor carried 135 pounds to a running-on sixth behind Straight Arron (Aus) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}) in the G3 Queen Mother Memorial Cup over track and distance May 7.

“He's a superstar of my stable and he's certainly given me one hell of a ride since he's joined me,” Whyte said of the 2020 G3 Hampton Court S. hero. “We've had our ups and downs but there's been a lot more ups than downs. To travel with him and winning in Doha, and coming back now to repeat that effort on a firm track. You've just got to give it all to the horse. When he won in Doha, that was probably the highlight of my career, both as a jockey and a trainer, to go abroad and do that.”

The beaten favourite gave it his all in his jockey's view.

“[Romantic Warrior] showed today it's [2400m] not his favourite distance, but he tried bloody hard–he was gone at the 600m,” Purton said. “Coming into the straight, Money Catcher actually headed me and I thought he was going to drop out, and to his credit, he tried as hard as he could. It was just not his distance.”

Russian Emperor's champion and four-time Group 1-winning dam sadly passed away days after foaling a colt by Justify in August 2020. The soon-to-be 3-year-old, an A$240,000 Inglis Easter yearling named Maravillas (Aus), is currently spelling for trainer Annabel Neasham.



Sunday, Sha Tin, Hong Kong
STANDARD CHARTERED CHAMPIONS AND CHATER CUP-G1, HK$12,000,000, Sha Tin, 5-28, 3yo/up, 2400mT, 2:26.87, gd.
1–RUSSIAN EMPEROR (IRE), 126, g, 6, by Galileo (Ire)
1st Dam: Atlantic Jewel (Aus) (Ch. 3yo Filly, Ch. Older Mare & MG1SW-Aus, $1,559,748), by Fastnet Rock (Aus)
2nd Dam: Regard (Aus), by Zabeel (NZ)
3rd Dam: Nanshan (Ire), by Nashwan
O-Mike Cheung Shun Ching; B-Coolmore, Lauri Macri & Partners; T-Douglas Whyte; J-Hugh Bowman; HK$6,840,000. Lifetime Record: Ch. Stayer-HK, GSW-Eng, SW-Qat, GSP-Ire, 29-6-4-3, HK$48,597,258. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Click for the free Equineline.com catalog-style pedigree.
2–Romantic Warrior (Ire), 126, g, 5, Acclamation (GB)–Folk Melody (Ire), by Street Cry (Ire). (300,000gns Ylg '19 TATOCT; HK$4,800,000 HRA '21 HKJUN). O-Peter Lau Pak Fai; B-Corduff Stud & T J Rooney; T-Danny Shum; J-Zac Purton; HK$2,640,000.
3–Five G Patch (Ire), 126, g, 5, Camelot (GB)–Uliana, by Darshaan (GB). O-Lam Wai Ying; B-Newstead Breeding; T-Tony Cruz A S; J-Alexis Badel; HK$1,200,000.
Margins: NK, 1, NO. Odds: 83-10, 1-5, 44-1.
Also Ran: Straight Arron (Aus), Money Catcher (NZ), Panfield (Chi), Senor Toba (Aus), Natural Storm (NZ), Columbus County (NZ). Click for the HKJC.com chart, PPs and sectional timing. VIDEO.

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