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Romantic Warrior makes history with third QE II Cup win in Hong Kong

By AFP

April 28, 2024 03:29 PM


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Romantic Warrior made history with a third victory in the Group One QE II Cup on Sunday while the great Golden Sixty fell short on an action-packed Champions Day at Sha Tin.

Golden Sixty, Hong Kong's most successful horse with world-record prize money of more than US $21.3 million, was unable to land a 27th career win as he finished fourth behind the Beauty Eternal in the Group One Champions Mile.

Trainer Francis Lui suggested the eight-year-old Golden Sixty had likely run his last race.

Jockey Vincent Ho said Sha Tin's yielding surface after prolonged recent rain prevented the three-time Horse of the Year from unleashing his customary finishing burst.

"He ran well. The ground was not in our favour. When I hit the straight I could already feel he could not pick up with his usual turn of foot," Ho said.

"I know it's a bit difficult. It is what it is, we can't fight the weather. I was in a great position and everything was close to the speed, but still we couldn't improve on that ground."

Beauty Eternal snared his maiden Group One success, leading throughout under champion jockey Zac Purton.

"There was no speed in the race, which gave us the opportunity to lead," said the Australian jockey.

"He just got into a lovely rhythm and controlled the race and I thought the only chance I had to beat Golden Sixty was to try to put a gap on them and see how we went and today was his day."

Danny Shum's superstar Romantic Warrior became the first horse to win the HK$28 million (US$3.6 million) QE II Cup three times, digging deep to hold off Japanese raider Prognosis by a neck over the 2,000m trip.

"I'm speechless. He's awesome," said New Zealand jockey James McDonald after winning his sixth Group One aboard Romantic Warrior.

"He was beaten at the 600m, he just finds a way. It's incredible. I dead set didn't have one thing go my way. I had 10 riders dead set against me and the horse. I just had no favours. He is incredible.

"There wasn't one part of the race I was happy with, to be honest with you. I'm just in disbelief."

David Hall's Invincible Sage was Hong Kong's other feature winner at Sha Tin's second international meeting of the season, snaring his first Group One win in the Chairman's Sprint Prize over 1,200m.

"He is up to top class now. I think a rain-affected track may have assisted his performance, but even on a dry track I think we would have seen a winning performance today," said jockey Hugh Bowman.


AFP


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