By Declan Schuster, HKJC
Dual Australian G1 winner Shadow Hero will step out for his long-awaited Hong Kong debut this Sunday at Sha Tin as he readies for the Class 2 Chevalier Property Investment Handicap (1400m) with the BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) on his radar.
“He’s settled into Hong Kong really well and I’m hoping for a really good run and also, I’m hoping that he’ll just get better as the races get longer,” Hayes said.
The four-year-old was a four-time winner prior to export from Australia, including twice at Group 1 level under the care of trainer Mark Newnham, firstly, winning the Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) before dropping back to a mile when claiming the Randwick Guineas.
“I’m hoping that he can be one of main Hong Kong Derby contenders, he’s a gradual build up and he’ll probably be better on International Day in the race that I’ve got picked out for him, but I’m expecting a good run, although I’m expecting a better run at his second one,” Hayes said.
The talented gelding will break from gate five with champion jockey Zac Purton up following three barrier trials in the led-up to his debut.
Also in the field is Berlin Tango (128lb), who also debuts and prior to arriving in Hong Kong won the G3 Classic Trial (1999m) at Kempton Park, as well as finishing a close-up third at Royal Ascot in the G3 Hampton Court Stakes (1993m).
Two more debutants from Australia will also line-up.
Enrich Delight (123lb), previously known as Chenier who was competitive at G1 level, while Tourbillon Diamond (124lb), previously known as Eric The Eel, also steps out. The four-year-old placed in the G1 Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick Racecourse in his final run Down Under.
Two-time champion trainer David Hayes has six entrants on Sunday, including Super Axiom who contests the opener on debut, the Class 4 Chevalier Aluminium Engineering Handicap (1000m).
“He’s a really imposing good looking big horse, he’ll be better when the races get longer but I think he’ll be pretty hard to beat based on how he has been trialling,” Hayes said.