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NEWS

Aerovelocity back in the groove for Sunday’s G2 Premier Bowl

18/10/2016 15:57

by David Morgan

Hong Kong’s Group race ratchet will move up a notch at Sha Tin on Sunday, 23 October, with an intriguing G2 double-header comprised of the Oriental Watch 55th Anniversary Sha Tin Trophy (Handicap) and the Premier Bowl (Handicap).

The 1200m Premier Bowl will see the inimitable Aerovelocity (131lb) return to the fray. Hong Kong’s former Champion Sprinter endured a largely luckless campaign last term, running off-colour in this contest, failing to make the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint as a result, and suffering colic in Japan that also forced his absence from the G1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen (1200m).

  • Aerovelocity lands the HKG1 Centenary Sprint Cup in style last term.
    Aerovelocity lands the HKG1 Centenary Sprint Cup in style last term.

In amongst all of that drama the Pins gelding reminded everyone of his talents with a HKG1 Centenary Sprint Cup (1200m) triumph in January before rounding out his campaign, post-Japan, down the field behind Chautauqua in May’s G1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m).

“He’s pretty good,” was trainer Paul O’Sullivan’s immediate appraisal this morning (Tuesday, 18 October). “This time last year we were quite concerned about his trialling and in hindsight he did have a problem, although it was hard to put your finger on it.”

Aerovelocity’s two barrier trials this term have pleased connections. The most recent of those, seven days ago, saw the powerful bay make all for a comfortable ‘win’ in a 1200m all-weather track heat.

“He’s come up very well this time,” O’Sullivan said. “He’s not quite as forward as he’s been in other years but he is eight years old now. For that reason, I think he’s going to need a run, but once he’s had a run, or maybe two, he’ll be at his peak. Everything’s about the Hong Kong Sprint in December.

“At this stage, he’s had a similar build-up to what he’s had in previous years but being that little bit older, it takes a little bit longer to pick up, but I’m very happy with him. He’ll go in there and give it his best shot on Sunday but we’re just looking for a nice run to build on.”

The three-time G1 winner, the only Hong Kong-trained horse to have won at the highest level in three countries/jurisdictions, is popular among race fans due not only to his ability but also his idiosyncratic, street-fighting character.

“He’s been getting a little complacent this season,” the trainer revealed. “Normally in his trials he tugs the whole way but now he gets two (lengths) in front and he just wants to pull up and then when they come to him he’s off again. He’s an extremely competitive horse.

“If you look at the November race two years ago, the Jockey Club Sprint, he got smashed, really slammed. Most horses, when that happens, they’re gone but he went again and got smashed again. He’s an absolutely fearless animal. He’s not the best horse I’ve ever put a saddle on but he’s undoubtedly the bravest.”

The 12 top-class entries for the G2 test also include Hong Kong’s current Champion Sprinter, Peniaphobia (133lb), Chairman’s Sprint Prize runner-up Lucky Bubbles (131lb), recent G3 National Day Cup (1000m) victor Amazing Kids (130lb), last season’s G1 Stewards’ Cup hero Giant Treasure (129lb) and rising stars Thewizardofoz (116lb), Lucky Year (115lb) and Blizzard (111lb).

Prebble hopes for Contentment repeat

Contentment is aiming to repeat last season’s win in the day’s title feature, the Oriental Watch 55th Anniversary Sha Tin Trophy Handicap, and jockey Brett Prebble is pleased with his mount heading into the 1600m contest.

  • Brett Prebble guides Contentment to victory in the G1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup.
    Brett Prebble guides Contentment to victory in the G1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup.

“He wasn’t beaten far first up the other day, it was just a funny-run race. He’ll improve for that run,” Prebble said.

Contentment’s only start so far this campaign produced a smart fifth in the G3 Celebration Cup (1400m) on 1 October, a length and three quarters behind the John Moore-trained Joyful Trinity. John Size’s charge shouldered top-weight of 133lb on that occasion, 18lb more than the victor, who will be on seven pounds worse terms when Sunday rolls around, with Contentment once again set to carry the maximum.

“Having that first run under his belt will definitely be a plus this time but it’s never easy giving away weight,” Prebble said. “Joyful Trinity looks the one to beat again and Sun Jewellery, I think he’s a really nice horse but he’s first-time out - a few of them, like Helene Paragon will improve for the run. It’s an interesting race - these Group races are never easy but Contentment’s a good horse.”

Beauty Only and G1 scorers Blazing Speed and Designs On Rome are also set to carry 133lb, while the field of 12 entrants also features Hong Kong’s Champion Miler Sun Jewellery (124lb), the potential star four-year-old Rapper Dragon (122lb) and the exciting Helene Paragon (131lb).

Able Friend could be aimed at the LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint

Able Friend, last season’s Premier Bowl hero and Hong Kong’s former Horse of the Year, could yet line up in the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint (1200m), rather than attempt to regain the LONGINES Hong Kong Mile crown he lost to Japan’s Maurice last December.

“I speak to the owner all the time and we’ll see how things go but I’m looking more towards the Sprint in December, given the timeframe,” said trainer John Moore.

“There’s the option of the (G2) Jockey Club Sprint in November and I’d trial him before that, but if the trial wasn’t up to expectations then I’d give him another trial and go straight into the Sprint in December off the back of those two barrier trials.

“It would all depend on fitness and how he handles it all. He’ll be entered for both the Sprint and the Mile but we’ll just have to monitor his fitness levels after such a long break and see which option is best for him.”

Dr. Cornel Li’s chestnut is attempting to come back from a tendon injury and returned to work at Sha Tin on 28 September after nine months of treatment and recuperation in Australia. A leaner version of the strapping Shamardal seven-year-old was seen out at the wind and rain-swept training centre this morning (18 October).

“He usually eats everything but the workload is just getting to him a little bit at the moment, but that’s to be expected. He’s coming along and so far, so good,” Moore said.

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