Time Warp impresses at Hong Kong’s season finale

Time Warp (112lb) ran his rivals a merry dance for the third time in as many races, with a powerful front-running display that annexed the Sha Tin Mile Trophy Handicap (1600m) at Sha Tin’s Season Finale fixture on Sunday.

An assured make-all ride from regular partner Alvin Ng ensured that the last Class 1 silverware of the 2016/17 campaign went to owner Martin Siu’s galloper, a five-time winner in Europe for Sir Mark Prescott pre-import, the last two of those in French Listed grade.

“He loves to be in front and he’s a very fit horse, he’s even fitter than his last race,” said Ng after the strapping chestnut had maintained a length and three quarters of daylight over the deep-closing runner-up Booming Delight (123lb).

“He didn’t have a quick start today but he soon picked up, and, with the draw from gate one, we were able to take the early initiative and dictate the pace. Once he got to the front we were in total control.

“I ride him every day and he’s really settled into his stride now in Hong Kong. He’s shown improvement in his last three races and I think he can keep on improving,” he added.

Tony Cruz-trained Time Warp, ridden by Alvin Ng, wins the Sha Tin Mile Trophy, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club

Ng has enjoyed a late-season flourish of sorts thanks to the Tony Cruz-trained Time Warp’s hat-trick, this being the rider’s fifth win of the term. But the jockey, despite another confident display on his part, admitted to some pre-race doubts.

“Before this race I was a little bit doubtful about whether he could have that kind of performance at this level, but he’s gone and won easily, and I’d be hopeful that he can progress to be competitive in the better races – I hope I will still have the chance to ride him next season,” he said of the 3.7 market third choice, a back-to-back winner at Happy Valley before returning to Sha Tin for this, his 10th Hong Kong start.

“I did wonder if this horse was a Happy Valley specialist after his two wins there, but after today he showed that he can handle the Sha Tin track well, too,” he added.

“It’s been a good end to the season for me. I just keep working hard and thankfully Mr. Cruz has given me an opportunity on this horse.”

The John Size-trained three-year-old Beat The Clock, the race’s 2.1 favourite was a further length and three quarters back in third under Joao Moreira.

Size and Moreira made amends in the next, the Class 3 Mr Award Handicap (1400m), as Hong Kong debutant Calculation, a Dundalk maiden winner for John Oxx pre-import, led from trap to line. It was the champion jockey’s 170th win this season.

And the duo struck again in the 10th race, the Class 3 Medic Kingdom Handicap (1200m), with the game three-year-old Ivictory.