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Little Brose’s big first-up test in Group 1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize

David Hayes concedes stable newcomer Little Brose faces a big challenge at his Hong Kong debut in the HK$22 million G1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) on FWD Champions Day at Sha Tin on Sunday, 28 April.

The former Australian sprinter, a Group 1 winner of the 2023 G1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) for two-year-olds, faces tough local and international opposition in the feature sprint.

Japanese runner Mad Cool is a Group 1 winner, while Hong Kong sprinters California Spangle and Victor The Winner have also both won at the highest level.

Sunrise Ronaldo will also represent Japan in the international contingent, which is completed by Great Britain’s sprinter Believing — trained by George Boughey.

Little Brose won the Blue Diamond Stakes in Australia; picture hkjc.com

Now a three-year-old, Little Brose was trained in Australia by Hayes’ sons Ben, Will and JD. He is owned by Hong Kong businessman Peter Young who has always been keen to see the colt race at Sha Tin before returning to Australia to potentially stand at stud.

The colt has raced nine times for two wins, two seconds and a third pre-import for more than HK$8 million in earnings. His last race was at Caulfield in October in the G1 Caulfield Guineas when he finished eighth in the 15-horse field, beaten by nearly five lengths, at his first attempt over 1600m.

Hayes said that depending on how Little Brose trials on Friday (19 April), he expects a competitive performance against some elite sprinting opposition.

“It is a tough task but he is a Group 1 winner,” he said. “There are three other Group 1 winners in the race and we’ll see how he goes. Then he’ll run in a handicap three weeks later if he doesn’t win it because he won’t be eligible if he wins [Chairman’s Sprint Prize].”

Hayes was speaking from his own experiences and observations when he said a lot of horses don’t win first-up in Hong Kong.

As well as Little Brose’s Blue Diamond Stakes win, the colt is also a Listed 1000m winner at Caulfield.

“He has got some sprinting ability and we are happy for him to run in the big races and that’s what we are going to do,” Hayes said. “At the moment I think I will keep him sprinting in the short term and that’s where his best form is, and then if need-be we will stretch him out.”

Like many good gallopers, Hayes said Little Brose was lazy in his trackwork but had so far won two of his three trials and on Friday he plans to apply blinkers when he trials.

He said it was always the plan for Little Brose, who was exported from Australia in December, to race in Australia so he could qualify for Hong Kong.

“I’d be surprised if beat the Dubai winner [California Spangle] but we’d be very happy if he ran a place,” Hayes said.

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