Straight Arron has continued a building advance towards the HK$36 million LONGINES Hong Kong Cup (2000m) next month with an emphatic victory in the G2 BOCHK Jockey Club Cup (2000m) at Sha Tin on Sunday (19 November) in a performance which drew the plaudits of trainer Caspar Fownes and jockey Vincent Ho.
Straight Arron adds another credit to his blossoming career, photo Hong Kong Jockey Club
Accelerating from the tail of the field, clocking 23.20s over the final 400m, the Fastnet Rock gelding overpowered Sword Point and Money Catcher to confirm Fownes’ lofty opinion of the five-year-old.
“This horse is a quality animal and he's just getting to where he should be now. That was a good result for us and it gives us a chance to get into the big race (LONGINES Hong Kong Cup), which is always tough against the top stayers in the world,” Fownes said.
“But he's earned his spot there and if they can run in the first four or five on international day, it's a job done really.
“Like I said in the interview before the race, if (Straight Arron) couldn't win the way I had him, then I hadn't got him to where I thought I had. I called it a while ago that I thought he was a 120 (rated) horse and he's still got a chance to improve on those numbers.”
Fownes will target the HK$24 million G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Vase (2400m) with stablemate Senor Toba, who finished fifth today.
“He ran very well there, Senor Toba. He was a bit held up at the wrong time of the race but his run was good. Both horses have run with a lot of merit and I'm very happy.”
Jumping from barrier six, Straight Arron was unsuited by the sluggish early tempo as he and Russian Emperor drifted towards the rear of the field behind Money Catcher, Sword Point and Nimble Nimbus.
“At first when they were going very slow, he was a little bit keen. Matthew (Chadwick) outside of me (on Russian Emperor) tried to push me in as well and when they quickened up, I felt more confident,” said Ho, who angled into the clear approaching the home turn before allowing Straight Arron to slip through his gears.
“He is also a good horse, Straight Arron and 2000 (metres) is his best distance as well. We had some ‘prep’ races before this and he’s coming up with this form so we’re glad to see his performance today and he will improve from this and perform at the internationals if he gets in.”
Straight Arron won by three-quarters of a length with a neck separating Sword Point and Money Catcher.
Hong Kong racing continues at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (22 November).