Helios Express Leaves It Late In Hong Kong Classic Cup

Helios Express (right) grabs Chancheng Glory on the post | HKJC photo


Sent away as the $16.50 (65-100) jolly to add Sunday's HK$13-million Hong Kong Classic Cup to last month's Hong Kong Classic Mile, top-rated Helios Express (Aus) (Toronado {Ire}) managed to work his way out of a jackpot with 200 metres to travel and flashed home to touch off an extremely game Chancheng Glory (Mor Spirit) by a short head Sunday afternoon at Sha Tin Racecourse. He can join the likes of the late Rapper Dragon (Aus) (Street Boss) and Golden Sixty (Aus) (Medaglia d'Oro) as Triple Crown winners should he negotiate the step up to the 2000 metres in the HK$26-million BMW Hong Kong Derby in three weeks.

Having shown a penchant to want to do too much in the Classic Mile, Helios Express was going to need to relax in the nine-furlong contest if he was to see out the trip. He switched off well enough mid-division and against the rail in the early stages as Beauty Crescent (Ire) (Acclamation {GB}) and Chancheng Glory came across from their wide draws to dispute whatever pace there was. But by about midway, Helios Express was tugging hard and Hugh Bowman had his hands full and his feet in the dashboard, doing everything in his power to try and save something for a finish.

The favourite went better on the turn as Beauty Crescent turned them into the Sha Tin straight, but he was going to have to be ridden for some luck. Held together inside, Helios Express quickly moved onto the leaders' heels, but his stablemate Ensued (Lemon Drop Kid) was there three off the fence and the no exit sign was illuminated for a handful of strides. But owing to the fact that Ensued lacks acceleration, Helios Express pushed away from the inside and now had dead aim on Chancheng Glory, who went to the front 250m from home. The latter, a 51-1 chance, had something left and wasn't going away, but Bowman kept after Helios Express and shoved him across the line. Ensued was a one-paced third ahead of Classic Mile third Star Mac (Aus) (Heroic Valour {Aus}), who got home well from the tail.

“There were a few anxious moments at the 700m when I couldn't hold him but I was given no option but to ride him as I rode him, given the way the race panned out,” said Bowman, a two-time Derby winner, but registering his first in the Classic Cup. “He settled really well but then when the pace started to change, it got really muddling around the corner, he didn't cope with that very well. It's hard to be too critical of him for that reason, either. With a smooth run race (in the Derby), he'll be okay.

“He needs an even tempo, he doesn't particularly need it fast. Like all horses, he's going to benefit from an even pace. It's not only him–it's the entire field.”




Pedigree Notes:

Western Australian-bred Helios Express continues an outstanding run in Hong Kong for his sire, who sits second behind Deep Field (Aus) in progeny earnings for the current season and his two stakes winners ranks as joint-best alongside Starspangledbanner (Aus). His other black-type scorer this term is G1 Centenary Sprint Cup hero Victor the Winner (Aus), who is a probable starter in the G1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen at Chuyko Racecourse Mar. 24.

A three-time winner at the races, Paris Texas passed away in September 2021 according to the Australian Stud Book, but has left behind Helios Express's unraced 3-year-old full-sister Isolation Ridge (Aus), who is in training with Lindsey Smith at Linton in Victoria.

Sunday, Sha Tin, Hong Kong
HONG KONG CLASSIC CUP-LR, HK$13,000,000, Sha Tin, 3-3, NH/SH4yo, 1800mT, 1:47.73, gd.
1–HELIOS EXPRESS (AUS), 126, g, 4, by Toronado (Ire)
1st Dam: Paris Texas (Aus), by Hinchinbrook (Aus)
2nd Dam: Hialeah Star (Aus), by Luskin Star (Aus)
3rd Dam: Hialeah Gold (Aus), by Sovereign Red (NZ)
O-Andy Yung Ming Tai; B-C Wells (WA); T-John Size; J-Hugh Bowman; HK$7,280,000. Lifetime Record: 9-7-1-1, HK$23,070,200. *Formerly Tex Mex (Aus). Werk Nick Rating: A++. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Chancheng Glory, 126, g, 4, Mor Spirit–Solid Scam, by Consolidator. ($50,000 Wlg '20 KEENOV; $110,000 Ylg '21 KEESEP; $220,000 RNA 2yo '22 OBSMAR). O-Chancheng Racing Syndicate; B-H Allen Poindexter (IA); T-Francis Lui; J-Keegan de Melo; HK$2,730,000.
3–Ensued, 126, g, 4, Lemon Drop Kid–Alluvial Gold (Ire), by Danehill Dancer (Ire). ($120,000 Ylg '21 KEESEP; €260,000 2yo '22 ARQMAY). O-Ada Wong Yin Man; B-T/C Stable LLC (KY); T-John Size; J-Ryan Moore; HK$1,495,000.
Margins: SHD, 2HF, 3/4. Odds: 65-100, 51-1, 69-10.
Also Ran: Star Mac (Aus), Beauty Crescent (Ire), Helene Feeling (Ire), Chill Chibi (NZ), Unbelievable, Speed Dragon (NZ), Fallon (Ire), Elliptical (Aus), Simply Maverick (Aus), Ka Ying Generation (Ire), Awesome Fluke (Aus). Click for the HKJC chart, PPs and sectional timing.


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