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Morris relishing FWD Champions Mile challenge with globetrotting Brave Emperor

April 26, 2024 at 6:28:52 AM

Luke Morris is hoping to strike gold on his first big ride in Hong Kong on Sunday when globetrotting Brave Emperor tackles the HK$22 million G1 FWD Champions Mile (1600m).

Luke Morris is hoping to strike gold on his first big ride in Hong Kong on Sunday when globetrotting Brave Emperor tackles the HK$22 million G1 FWD Champions Mile (1600m).

The British jockey enjoyed his finest moment in the saddle when Alpinista landed the 2022 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and has a wealth of international experience, while he can also leverage plenty of local insight from his fellow riders.

He said: “I’ve ridden in Japan and Singapore but never in Hong Kong so it’s exciting. It’s one of the premier jurisdictions and to be riding at the top level there is where you want to be.

“I’m very good friends with Harry Bentley, he’s godfather to my son, and Andrea Atzeni too, so I’ve had a good chat with them and Ryan Moore to get a few tips.

“The racing is very different from European racing. You go very quickly from the gate and tactically you’ve got to be on the ball. It’s something that I’ll have to be aware of. I’ve got a ride before the Champions Mile so I can get my eye in.”

Brave Emperor boasts a unique and decorated record having raced in France, Germany, Sweden, Italy and Qatar within the last year, including wins in the G3 Grosser Preis der Landeshauptstadt Dusseldorf, G2 Premio Vittorio Di Capua and Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Cup.

Luke Morris has high hope on Brave Emperor.
Luke Morris has high hope on Brave Emperor.
Morris said: “He’s acquitted himself extremely well wherever he’s been. He’s gone from strength to strength and I’ve been delighted with his progress.

“Since we put the blinkers on he’s improved dramatically and every time we give him a test he steps up to the mark so he’s very much deserving of his shot at the top level.

“He’s had a nice break since Qatar and once we knew he could perform on a fast surface, the Champions Mile was always on the radar, so he’s been prepared perfectly. We’ve got him exactly where we want him.”

Persistent thunderstorms throughout the week have been music to the ears of Morris, whose mount is proven in a variety of conditions, and any rain on raceday would be welcome for Brave Emperor.

He said: “I was hoping the ground will be as soft as it could possibly be as it would help draw the sting out of Golden Sixty and some of the other runners. It would give us a slight edge. Realistically, we need to pray for rain on the day to enhance his chances.

“Tactically he’s extremely versatile. There doesn’t look to be a huge amount of pace in the race. Voyage Bubble has form over 2000m so he’ll probably roll forward. Beauty Eternal and Red Lion will probably be trying to ride a similar race to me. We’ll try and keep it simple, he’s very tough and honest in the end. He probably doesn’t do a lot in front so I’ll try to time my challenge.

“Sunday’s race will be right up there alongside the best races in the world and if he were to go and win, and knock Golden Sixty off his perch, it would be a remarkable feat.”

Brave Emperor has drawn barrier nine in a field of 11.

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