Stewards' Cup Offers 'Golden' Opportunity

Voyage Bubble | HKJC


Death, taxes and Hong Kong winners by Deep Field (Aus).

Of life's surest eventualities, the latter is definitely worthy of inclusion, and Voyage Bubble (Aus) will look to add to the stallion's impressive local record when he goes in search of a maiden Group 1 success in the G1 Stewards' Cup Sunday at Sha Tin.

The chances of Voyage Bubble–and those of his seven rivals–have been done no damage by the absence of G1 Longines Hong Kong Mile hero Golden Sixty (Aus) (Medaglia d'Oro), who is on the mend and in slow work after suffering a minor injury. He has three months to get ready for the G1 FWD Champions Mile in late April, but in the meantime, the spotlight is there to be stolen–at least temporarily.

The upset winner of last year's age-restricted Hong Kong Classic Mile and BMW Hong Kong Derby, Voyage Bubble was fourth to the reigning Horse of the Year in last year's Champions Mile and has run well without winning in two starts this term. A first-up third to Beauty Eternal (Aus) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}) and Beauty Joy (Aus) (Sebring {Aus}) in the G2 Jockey Club Mile Nov. 19, he outran a quote of $31 to finish closest to Golden Sixty on international day. James McDonald jets back into the SAR for trainer Ricky Yiu.

“Let's see how much this horse can give,” said Yiu. “The impression I have is there is another level. I would say (I am) optimistic. He will definitely perform again.”

Deep Field is the runaway leading sire in Hong Kong by number of winners (16) and progeny earnings (HK$36.7 million).

A good run Sunday could translate into a first start on foreign soil for Voyage Bubble.

“We'll see how he goes on Sunday and then we can definitely think about possible races for him to run overseas. Dubai and one of the races in Australia, maybe–there are a few options there,” said Yiu, who has entered Voyage Bubble for the G1 Dubai Turf at Meydan Mar. 30.

Beauty Eternal could not repeat the dose in the Hong Kong Mile, finishing an even sixth as a $4.60 (18-5) chance. He will attempt to give trainer John Size a record-extending eighth win in the Stewards' Cup.

“Beauty Eternal's trials have looked good,” said Purton, who carried the Patrick Kwok silks to victory aboard Beauty Generation (NZ) in 2019. “He seems to have come through his run in December in good shape and it'll be good to be back on him–hopefully he can produce his best.”




Straight Arron (Aus) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}) was beaten 3/4 of a length into fourth–with some trouble–by Romantic Warrior (Ire) (Acclamation {GB}) in the G1 Longines Hong Kong Cup and is using this as a prep for either the G1 Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup (2000m) or potential overseas targets in Qatar and/or Dubai. The same applies for Russian Emperor (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), who was sixth here before taking the Amir Trophy last February in Doha.

California Spangle (Ire) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}) was third to Golden Sixty in last year's Stewards' Cup, but needs to lift on his current form, which includes a 13th in the Hong Kong Mile last time.

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