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Amazing Star aims to prove he’s no fluke in Chairman’s Sprint Prize

April 23, 2021, 8:41:30 AM

Amazing Star delivered one of the biggest feature-race surprises in Hong Kong racing history when he won the G2 Sprint Cup (1200m) earlier this month, and this Sunday (25 April) at Sha Tin, the six-year-old bay will look to show that his performance was no fluke when he competes in the HK$18 million G1 Chairman's Sprint Prize (1200m).

“Winning the Sprint Cup was so incredible; I never thought he could win – he just got lucky – but after that race, he has changed, and he is even better than last start,” trainer Jimmy Ting said.

Sent off as an unconsidered 178/1 shot, the seven-time winning gelding defied the odds by racing out of the pack to beat Stronger by a short head.

Not only will he be challenged by a sharp and reasonably closely matched Hong Kong contingent this weekend, but he will also be tested by the all-conquering Danon Smash from Japan, who returns to Hong Kong off the back of a second consecutive G1 ranking, having won the 2021 Takamatusnomiya Kinen (1200m) in his home country at the end of March.

“The sprint ranks are open in Hong Kong, but the biggest threat is the Japanese horse, Danon Smash, who appears to be very quick – I only hope Amazing Star will run well,” Ting said.

Danon Smash won the 2020 G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) in exciting fashion last December, while Amazing Star finished ninth.

“His form is stronger, better than before his last race, and I hope that helps him a lot,” Ting said of the Darci Brahma galloper, who won his second Sprint Cup victory at Sha Tin after previously winning all five of his career victories at Happy Valley.

The New Zealand-bred will be partnered with jockey Vagner Borges once more, and the pair will start from gate four.

“It's a great draw for him because there isn't a lot of early pace to the inside of him, so hopefully he will get a decent spot – I'm very happy,” Ting said.

Amazing Star galloped over 800m on the Sha Tin dirt on Tuesday (20 April), clocking 55.1s (30.4s, 24.7s) with a companion horse, the two-time winning Hong Kong Bet.

“On Tuesday, he galloped, he was smooth, he did it well – he's healthy, and I hope he runs well this weekend,” Ting said.

“When he has a big draw, he can be too eager in the run; he has to roll forward to find a good spot on the speed, so he can sprint home,” he said.

The HK$9.062 million earner has raced at Pattern standard five times, with his best finish prior to his last-start victory a close-up fourth in the G3 Bauhinia Sprint Trophy Handicap (1000m) at the start of the year.

“He's an easy horse to train; he only has a few health issues here and there,” Ting said of the PPG (Privately Purchased Griffin), who had several leg issues in 2018 and 2019.

Ting, who is looking for his first G1 victory as a trainer, will be portrayed exclusively by the speedster in the three top-level races on FWD Champions Day.

“Every winner is important, not just Group 1 winners; if we can run in Group 1s, it means I have a good horse,” Ting joked.

Jolly Banner, Wishful Thinker, Computer Patch, Rattan, Wellington, Big Group, Fat Turtle, Stronger, Voyage Warrior, Beauty Applause, and Sky Field are all in the six-furlong race.

Beauty Applause is the sole agent for 11-time champion trainer John Size, who is attempting to win his fourth race in a row after Grand Delight (2003), Ivictory (2018), and Beat The Clock (2017). (2019).

From gate two, the dazzling chestnut will be partnered with four-time champion jockey Zac Purton.

“Gate two gives him his opportunity, and if he's lucky enough to win the prize money, he definitely gets his chance from there,” Size said.

The talented son of Stratum finished third to Amazing Star in the Sprint Cup earlier this month and prepares for his 10th start of the season in the Chairman's Sprint Prize on Sunday.

“He seems perfect; he's had a lot of racing this season, but he seems to have retained his form – he still looks fantastic, his work has been great, and nothing has changed at home, so I only hope he has another run in him this season,” Size said.

The HK$25 million FWD QEII Cup (2000m), the HK$20 million FWD Champions Mile (1600m), and the HK$18 million Chairman's Sprint Prize are the three Group 1 races on FWD Champions Day at Sha Tin (1200m).