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Matthew Chadwick seeks second Champions & Chater Cup with Packing Waltham

May 19, 2021 at 8:40:47 AM

Matthew Chadwick will partner Packing Waltham in Sunday's (23 May) G1 Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup (2400m), inspired by his innate staying abilities but wary of his puberty as he steps up to the big time in the HK$12 million feature.

After winning the race on the great California Memory eight years ago, Chadwick will look to upstage a slew of veteran gallopers this weekend at Sha Tin, including stablemates Exultant and Time Warp, with victory atop the rising stayer in the season's final G1.

“If he replicates his last-start performance, he will run well; he'll still be a great horse next season; it's only come about very quickly for him, that's all, but he's got ability,” Chadwick said.

Chadwick partnered the son of Wootton Bassett to a rousing fourth in the G3 Queen Mother Memorial Cup Handicap (2400m) earlier this month, getting the leg up on the youthful four-year-old for the fourth time this season.

“He'll run well if he runs like he did the other day – I was a little unlucky, but he's still improving as a breed, I rode him prior to the Derby and he still needed to step up for those races, and then after the Derby I rode him in a trial and he seemed to have come on a little,” Chadwick said.

The French import will look to get off to a winning start in G1 company after winning two starts on the fibresand at Lyon and Pau before hitting at Listed level on the polytrack at Chantilly in the 2020 Prix Maurice Caillault when beating Mkfancy by one length, winner of the 2019 G1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud (2000m) the previous start.

“It seems that the further he goes, the better he gets; the last time he didn't hit the distance when it was presented, it was just enough for him to get through, and an experienced horse with the right mind and frame would go straight through it – he just didn't fight it.

“So he may just need a little more galloping space at this point, he's got the talent, he just needs to deliver it, he came into this season like a colt, with that frame of mind,” Chadwick said.

Packing Waltham is one of three horses in the field hoping to add to trainer Tony Cruz's brilliant record in the race, which he has won seven of the last eight times with California Memory (2013), Blazing Speed (2014 and 2016), Helene Super Star (2015), Pakistan Star (2018), and Exultant (2019 and 2020).

“I think he will place; I'm still optimistic in Exultant, but he's a growing horse; he's certainly a mile and a half horse – I'll keep running him over longer trips,” Cruz said.

Packing Waltham is one of three four-year-olds in the race, along with Panfield and Russian Emperor, as well as Columbus County, Butterfield, and Glorious Dragon.

Chadwick will saddle seven horses tonight at Happy Valley's nine-race card, including Simply Fluke (121lb) in the second division of the Kam Tin River Handicap (1200m).

“He likes to be ridden calmly so that he can complete the sprint, so he's a bit of a one trick pony in that regard, so we'll just have to ride a race to fit him and find the right gaps,” Chadwick said.

The gelding is a three-time champion in Hong Kong, but he was beaten by High Rise Soldier (131lb) by a short head last time out.

“He demonstrated that last time (a good change of foot), but if he can only replicate that level of commitment, he should be able to go near again.

“I went by Vincent (Ho) and I think he half got there and thought his work was over, so he kind of half gave up, so maybe he crosses the line a little more forcefully and keeps in front once he gets there,” Chadwick said.

The second division of the Class 5 Tan Shan River Handicap kicks off this evening's nine-race card at Happy Valley at 6.45pm (1650m).

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