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Romantic Warrior’s fourth but Shum expects improvement for W.S. Cox Plate

October 9, 2023 at 4:12:07 AM

Trainer Danny Shum is confident this afternoon’s fourth-placed effort in the G1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington has Romantic Warrior on the right track for his G1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m) tilt on 28 October at Moonee Valley.

Trainer Danny Shum is confident this afternoon’s fourth-placed effort in the G1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington has Romantic Warrior on the right track for his G1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m) tilt on 28 October at Moonee Valley.

“He hasn’t raced for close to five months, so he needs the run, actually. James (McDonald) said in three weeks he will be back, back to his top form.

“I always targeted the Cox Plate, so we needed a lead-up race for him to see how he can handle the left turn. I cannot say I’m happy but I’m not disappointed,” Shum said.

Racing for the first time in five months, Romantic Warrior found a prominent position in the run under jockey James McDonald and, while racing slightly keenly, he was overrun by 2022 G1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) winner Gold Trip’s unmatchable burst of speed.

“He (Romantic Warrior) was good. He needed the run a bit, so he will improve,” McDonald said.

The win was Gold Trip’s second at the top-level for jockey Mark Zahra and trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace.

Romantic Warrior and Gold Trip will meet again in the W.S. Cox Plate.

“We expected him (Gold Trip) to run well but to go like that was huge,” Zahra said. “Unbelievable, I’m tingling. I can’t believe he won like that. What a win.”

The winning time of the race was 2m 01.62s, while West Wind Blows and Soulcombe filled the placings ahead of Romantic Warrior, who collects AU$33,750 (HK$169,900) for his effort.

“It was just that he (Romantic Warrior) was a little bit tired over the last 100 metres. He’s not fit, he’s not 100 percent. Hopefully this will bring him up,” Shum said.

Pre-race Shum declared Romantic Warrior around 85-90 percent fit; the handler is hopeful his charge can find the necessary improvement ahead of his second run in Australia.

“James said don’t panic, the horse had a big blow and he was tired the last 100 metres. He didn’t give him a hard time,” Shum said.

Star Patrol’s impressive in Group 2 dash

One race later 2023 G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) aspirant Star Patrol – owned by Hong Kong connections – became only the fourth horse in history to complete the G2 Bobbie Lewis Stakes (1200m) and G2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) double at Flemington.

The five-year-old races in the same silks as Stoltz – who is also owned by Josiah Ma – and will next target the G1 Champions Sprint (1200m) at Flemington before a possible Hong Kong option on 10 December at Sha Tin’s HK$118 million LONGINES Hong Kong International Races.

Star Patrol clocked 1m 09.87s this afternoon under jockey Ben Melham for trainer Clinton McDonald.

“He used himself well today, he went through his gears and Triple Missile travelled up and was probably travelling better. But once Ben (Melham) got busy on him, he really let down and found the line strong,” McDonald said.

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