Romantic Warrior Outduels Prognosis In the FWD QE II Cup

Romantic Warrior | HKJC


HONG KONG, CHINA — With one Hong Kong legend on his way to retirement, Peter Lau's Romantic Warrior (Ire) (Acclamation {GB}) took another step towards cementing his own legacy, becoming the first to take the G1 FWD QE II Cup on three occasions under a masterful steer from James McDonald.

Three deep into the first turn from a high draw, Romantic Warrior was hung out to dry without cover before McDonald tapped on the brakes just enough to allow the 6-year-old to slot in on the back of Sword Point (Aus) (American Pharoah) in the two path with about 1200 metres to travel.

Seconds later, Yuga Kawada set last year's runner-up Prognosis (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn})–who spotted his rivals a good four lengths at the break–alight, zooming up outside of rivals to be a forward factor, as his compatriot North Bridge (Jpn) (Maurice {Jpn}) was on an all-the-way mission up front. Appearing to spin his wheels in the rain-affected going passing the 600-metre marker, Romantic Warrior followed the four-wide move of Prognosis into the Sha Tin straight, was produced on the grandstand side with a furlong and a half to race and prevailed in a war of attrition to the wire.

“I'm speechless–he's awesome,” said McDonald, whose other top-level scores atop Romantic Warrior include the Cox Plate, Longines Hong Kong Cup and Hong Kong Gold Cup. “He was beaten at the 600m, he just finds a way. It's incredible. I dead-set didn't have one thing go my way. I had 10 riders dead-set against me and the horse. I just had no favours.”

“He is incredible. There wasn't one part of the race I was happy with, to be honest with you,” McDonald continued. “Going out (of the straight) the first time, I was deep, but I was in a rhythm but not in a good spot. 1000m from home, I was finally having a rest and one took off and at the 600, he was off the bridle and struggling in the ground a tad and he just picks up. I'm just in disbelief.”

The Australian-based Kiwi is booked to ride the Hong Kong International Sale graduate and virtual lock for Horse of the Year in the G1 Yasuda Kinen in Tokyo in early June.

“Japan will be next, we want to go there but our first priority is to see how the horse is,” trainer Danny Shum said. “When he came in, he seemed a bit tired. It wasn't an easy run, James said make sure the horse is sound and then we'll schedule him in.

“He ran a good race, he always tried and James did a good job. We all love this horse. He always tries his best. Today, no horses could lock him in–he just wouldn't stop trying. James ran a good race not to rush him, keep him balanced and keep all his momentum.”

With now HK$142 million in earnings from only 19 runs, Romantic Warrior is within shouting distance of Golden Sixty's earnings mark, which stands at around HK$167 million after Sunday's Champions Mile.

Second choice Massive Sovereign (Ire) (No Nay Never) failed to build on his win in last month's BMW Hong Kong Derby in eighth, one spot in back of European raider Dubai Honour (Ire) (Pride of Dubai {Aus}).

“He just didn't handle the going and was gone at the 1200 (metres),” his jockey Zac Purton said.

Pedigree Notes:

Romantic Warrior, a 300,000gns Tattersalls October grad and the most successful horse to emerge from the Hong Kong International Sale, is one of three winners from four to the races for his dam, a daughter of the English listed-winning and Group 3-placed, G2 Prix Jean Romanet and GI E. P. Taylor S. winner Folk Opera, who was purchased by Blandford Bloodstock carrying to Exceed and Excel (Aus) for €82,000 at the 2016 Goffs November Sale. The in-utero purchase, named Melodic Charm (Ire), was sold for 85,000gns at the 2018 Tattersalls October Sale and was a two-time winner at the races for Saeed Manana and James Tate before clearly benefitting from the success of Romantic Warrior when selling to the China Horse Club for 270,000gns in foal to Dark Angel (Ire) at last year's Tattersalls December Mares Sale.

Folk Melody is also the dam of the 3-year-old colt Operation Gimcrack (Ire) (Showcasing {GB}) and a yearling colt by the same stallion that was bought back for 110,000gns at last year's Tattersalls October Sale. Folk Star (GB) (Le Havre {Ire}), a David Simcock-trained half-sister to Folk Melody who won her maiden at Kempton Nov. 6 and was a narrowly beaten second in a Lingfield handicap Nov. 25, was knocked down to Kildaragh Stud for 37,000gns at the 2023 Tattersalls December Sale. Folk Melody is additionally the dam of a weanling colt by New Bay (GB).

Sunday, Sha Tin, Hong Kong
FWD QE II CUP-G1, HK$28,000,000, Sha Tin, 4-28, 3yo/up, 2000mT, 2:01.02, yl.
1–ROMANTIC WARRIOR (IRE), 126, g, 6, by Acclamation (GB)
1st Dam: Folk Melody (Ire), by Street Cry (Ire)
2nd Dam: Folk Opera (Ire), by Singspiel (Ire)
3rd Dam: Skiphall (GB), by Halling
(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-James McDonald; HK$15,680,000. Lifetime Record: Ch. 4yo, 2x. Ch. Middle Distance Horse-HK, G1SW-Aus, 19-14-3-0, HK$142,756.024. Werk Nick Rating: C+. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree or the free catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Prognosis (Jpn), 126, h, 6, Deep Impact (Jpn)–Velda (GB), by Observatory. O-Shadai Race Horse Co Ltd; B-Shadai Farm; T-Mitsu Nakauchida; J-Yuga Kawada; HK$5,880,000.
3–North Bridge (Jpn), 126, h, 6, Maurice (Jpn)–Amazing Moon (Jpn), by Admire Moon (Jpn). (¥34,560,000 Ylg '19 JBBAJUL). O-Noboru Iyama; B-Murata Bokujo; T-Takeshi Okumura; J-Yasunari Iwata; HK$3,220,000.
Margins: NK, 2, 3/4. Odds: 9-10, 22-5, 103-1.
Also Ran: Happy Together (Ire), Hishi Iguazu (Jpn), Five G Patch (Ire), Dubai Honour (Ire), Massive Sovereign (Ire), Nimble Nimbus (NZ), Straight Arron (Aus), Sword Point (Aus).  Click for the HKJC chart, PPs and sectional timing.



Invincible Sage Ends Group 1 Dry Spell For Hall

The absence of Lucky Sweynesse (NZ) (Sweynesse {Aus}) left G1 Al Quoz Sprint hero California Spangle (Ire) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}) a warm favourite in the G1 Chairman's Sprint Prize, but Invincible Sage (Aus) (Thronum {Aus}) wore that one down late to give Melbourne Cup-winning trainer David Hall his first Hong Kong Group 1 winner in 17 years.

Exiting a runner-up effort to the reigning champion sprinter in the G2 Sprint Cup Apr. 7, the 4-year-old jumped well from gate five and took up a spot just being the leaders, headed by Victor the Winner (Aus) (Toronado {Ire}), who was kept company by California Spangle and his G1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen conqueror Mad Cool (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}). The latter's three-wide run came to an abrupt halt nearing the straight, and California Spangle put it to Victor the Winner approaching the 200-metre mark, but Invincible Sage had the move covered and did the better work of the two to the line.

“It's been a long time between drinks, of course,” said Hall, who not only sent out Makybe Diva (GB) to win the 'race that stops a nation' in 2003, but also handled Silent Witness (Aus) before he became all the rage in Hong Kong. “As everybody says, this is what you get out of bed for in the mornings. It's been a bit of a drought for us at the top level so this is certainly a very satisfying win.”

Invincible Sage was having his first start at Group 1 level, but his ability to handle a wet track was evident when winning three straight in soft ground at Caulfield and Flemington pre-import.

Pedigree Notes:

Invincible Sage is the first black-type winner of any variety for his sire, a son of Snitzel (Aus) who was victorious at Group 2 level and narrowly beaten in the 2018 G1 William Reid S.

The winner's dam, a full-sister to Group 2 scorer Diamond Tathagata (Aus) and a half to the dual listed winner Ancestry (Aus) (The Brothers War), is also responsible for the 2-year-old filly Eight Gorillas (Aus) (Fiorente {Ire}) and a yearling filly by Snitzel's four-times Group 1-winning son Trapeze Artist (Aus).

Sunday, Sha Tin, Hong Kong
CHAIRMAN'S SPRINT PRIZE-G1, HK$22,000,000, Sha Tin, 4-28, 3yo/up, 1200mT, 1:09.33, yl.
1–INVINCIBLE SAGE (AUS), 126, g, 4, by Thronum (Aus)
1st Dam: Thorsborne (Aus), by Hinchinbrook (Aus)
2nd Dam: Maltese (Aus), by Tale of the Cat
3rd Dam: Marwell Lady (Aus), by Lord Seymour (Ire)
1ST GROUP WIN, 1ST GROUP 1 WIN. (A$200,000 Ylg '21 INGMAR). O-22/23 David Hall Trainer Syndicate; B-Sun Bloodstock (Vic); T-David Hall; J-Hugh Bowman; HK$12,320,000. Lifetime Record: 19-7-4-4, HK$24,593,190. *Formerly Thron Bone (Aus). Werk Nick Rating: C. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree or the free catalogue-style pedigree.
2–California Spangle (Ire), 216, g, 6, Starspangledbanner (Aus)–Pearlitas Passion (Ire), by High Chaparral (Ire). (€150,000 Ylg '19 GOFORB). O-The Executors of the Estate of the Late Howard Liang Yum Shing; B-M Enright; T-Tony Cruz; J-Brenton Avdulla; HK$4,620,000.
3–Mugen (Aus), 126, g, 5, Deep Field (Aus)–Little Favours (Aus), by Falvelon (Aus). (A$160,000 Ylg '20 INGMAR). 1ST BLACK TYPE, 1ST GROUP BLACK TYPE, 1ST GROUP 1 BLACK TYPE. O-Infinitude Syndicate; B-Catalina Pastoral Pty Ltd (Vic); T-Pierre Ng; J-Blake Shinn; HK$2,530,000.
Margins: 1HF, 3/4, NK. Odds: 59-10, 7-5, 44-5.
Also Ran: Flying Ace (NZ), Howdeepisyourlove (Aus), Lucky With You (Aus), Victor the Winner (Aus), Little Brose (Aus), Believing (Ire), Sunrise Ronaldo (Jpn), Mad Cool (Ire). Click for the HKJC chart, PPs and sectional timing. VIDEO.

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