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Voyage Bubble rises for FWD Champions Mile challenge

April 19, 2023 at 3:12:10 AM

BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) winner Voyage Bubble will put the form of this season’s four-year-old crop to the test when he lines up in Sunday week’s (30 April) HK$20 million G1 FWD Champions Mile (1600m) at Sha Tin.

BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) winner Voyage Bubble will put the form of this season’s four-year-old crop to the test when he lines up in Sunday week’s (30 April) HK$20 million G1 FWD Champions Mile (1600m) at Sha Tin.

The Four-Year-Old Classic Series plays an indispensable role in the rejuvenation of Hong Kong’s talent pool and Voyage Bubble – victorious also in the Hong Kong Classic Mile (1600m) – will be the sole winning contender out of the series tried in one of the features on FWD Champions Day when he lines up against Golden Sixty, California Spangle and more.

Trainer Ricky Yiu is eager to see how his 103-rater fares, particularly with the belief that his charge continues to raise the bar each time he races.

“End of the month we’re going to take on the big boys. He’s the only four-year-old in the field and it’ll be a very interesting race to watch,” Yiu said.

The Deep Field youngster edged out Drombeg Banner in a barrier trial over 1200m on dirt at Sha Tin this morning (Tuesday, 18 April), clocking 1m 09.93s with second and third finishers in the BMW Hong Kong Derby, respectively – Tuchel and Beauty Eternal – behind him.

“He’s a smart horse – I’m more than happy to see the way he trialled this morning. He continues to improve, he’s only lightly raced and he’s a four-year-old – I think he has a bright future,” Yiu said.

Xtension (2011) was the last four-year-old to win the Champions Mile directly after running in the Hong Kong Derby where he finished in second position.
Voyage Bubble has five wins from 11 starts and HK$25.29 million in the bank.
“I’m very happy with his trial, it was exciting, that’s how I look at it. He understands the pace and whether they go quick or slow – he’s very versatile, you can put him close, lead or somewhere midfield. He’s learning more and more day by day,” Yiu said.
Jockey Alexis Badel returned equally as pleased following this morning’s effort.
“It was perfect, I was happy to take a sit on him. We’re happy to see him relax, he doesn’t have to lead all the way in every race and it was a good exercise,” Badel said.
Waikuku, Beauty Joy, Glorious Dragon and Healthy Happy also feature from Hong Kong, while Southern Hemisphere duo Aegon and My Oberon are poised to line-up.
“It’s hard to imagine I will engage a speed battle between California Spangle and my horse. Voyage Bubble is obviously very versatile so he can face different scenarios, which is good to know.
“He’s obviously a quality horse, he’s not here for no reason. He’s got a bright future, whether he can win this race against the top milers I don’t know, but he’s a talented horse so sooner or later he will knock on the door,” Badel said.

John Size could chance both BMW Hong Kong Derby placegetters Beauty Eternal and Tuchel with a return to racing this season following their efforts at Sha Tin this morning.

“It seemed normal to me, I’ll see how they pull up but the trials looked fine to me. They’ve had some time off after the Derby and we’ll just go through the motions.

“We’ll see if they’re ready to race and they’re healthy enough to come back. I think they’re all right, but you give them a trial and you see what sort of reaction you get from that,” Size said.

Beauty Eternal finished third under jockey Zac Purton in 1m 10.18s, while Tuchel closed off in fifth position under jockey Karis Teetan in 1m 10.27s. Golden Sixty clocked 1m 10.42s in the same trial.

Purton heads to Happy Valley on Wednesday night (19 April) with seven rides out of a possible nine, including Magniac, who chases a first Hong Kong win in the second section of the Class 3 Ho Man Tin Handicap (1200m).

“He just hasn’t quite been finishing his races off, which was the same last weekend, and in Australia when he had the quick back-up he seemed to do well. So, we’ve sent him back to the races and let’s see if it works here,” Purton said.

The three-year-old has placed three times in Hong Kong for trainer Jamie Richards after arriving in town as a three-time winner in Australia.

Happy Valley’s nine-race fixture on Wednesday (19 April) kicks off at 6.45pm with the Class 5 Tsim Sha Tsui Handicap (1800m).

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