Jenny - Clean

THE Caspar Fownes-trained Thumbs Up proved too strong at the weights for champion miler Able One in the HKG3 Mission Hills Sha Tin Trophy (1600m) on Sunday.

Thumbs Up collared the gallant topweight with a run that always looked as though it was going to succeed after Able One had travelled easily into the lead with 300m to go. The race set up a re-match when the pair meet again in the international races in November and December.

Both Fownes and Able One’s trainer John Moore were thrilled with their horses’ performances and declared them on course for both next month’s international G2 Cathay Pacific Jockey Club Mile and the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Mile itself.

“I was happy the whole way through,” said winning jockey Brett Doyle. “He showed a bit more speed than before in the early part of the race, and at the end we were always just wearing the other one down.”

Fownes, who took over Thumbs Up’s preparation at the end of last season, was naturally the more pleased of the two trainers.

“He arrived from Danny (Shum) in very good condition,” said the championship leader “and although he’s obviously not at his peak yet – that’s planned for December 12 - he’s still run 1.33.5.

"Even though he was receiving 7lbs that was a very good performance. He’s a very versatile horse and he’s in both the Cup and the Mile. But my feeling is that he’s 90 per centsure to go for the Mile after that run, and his next race will be in the Jockey Club Mile next month.

"He’s got plenty of improvement to come, and I wouldn’t have been disappointed if he just made ground late and finished fourth or fifth. So today’s win was a great bonus.”

Moore too declared himself more than happy with Able One: “He was in need of that run and both Darren (Beadman) and I agreed he was a bit underdone. Of course we’re aiming for him to peak in December, but in the end it was just the weight concession that made the difference.”

Earlier the Derek Cruz-trained Cerise Cherry landed a big betting plunge and graduated in style to Group class by romping home by a comfortable length and three quarters in the HKG3 Premier Bowl (1200m).

It was the five-year-old entire’s first shot at 1200m. But the drop in trip from 1400m and beyond failed to faze him in any way, and it was clear half way up the straight that he had the race in safe keeping even with the favourite Sweet Sanette, who had to wait a while for a run, clear and in hot pursuit.

In the end the last 50m found Sweet Sanette out, and Tai Sing Yeh got up on the line to deprive her of second place. But by that time Cerise Cherry was long gone, and neither of his pursuers ever looked like getting a blow after Howard Cheng had sent him to the lead 200m out.

After Cerise Cherry had won his first race this season Cruz had suggested a bid for the international races might be the plan, an idea which raised a few eyebrows at the time. But the projection seems much more realistic after today’s performance, regardless of the fact that he was receiving weight from all but one of his rivals.

“He’s got a great future,” said Cruz, “and dropping back in trip didn’t worry him at all. He’s really matured. He’s full of himself now, and his work has just been brilliant. I want to follow the same route with him as with Joy And Fun who also dropped down in trip.

"And we might look at running him overseas like Joy And Fun too. First though he’ll go for the (Cathay Pacific) Jockey Club Sprint, and then when we’ve seen how he gets on at level weights he’ll be going for the (CXHK) Sprint.

"Everything went perfect in today’s race. He’s really matured this year. He’s more relaxed and he’s more confident, so I’m very hopeful that he’ll be ready to take on the best at level weights.”




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