Hong Kong


Classic Emperor struggles on the Meydan dirt

Classic Emperor’s Dubai assignment is over. Chris So’s charge finished eighth of 13 today (10 March) behind Kimbear in the G3 Burj Nahaar (1600m, dirt) at Meydan racecourse’s Super Saturday fixture.
There was no repeat of the last start stumble that saw the six-year-old pitch jockey Derek Leung to the dirt, but after breaking cleanly from the starting gate under Oisin Murphy, Classic Emperor struggled to accelerate and was soon toiling near the tail of the 13-runner contest. The Medaglia D’Oro gelding will not line up in the G2 Godolphin Mile on the Dubai World Cup card in three weeks’ time.
“He broke on terms but he couldn’t muster the speed on that (surface),” a disappointed Murphy said immediately after the Hong Kong galloper had crossed the line 20 lengths adrift of the winner.  
“He can’t get out of that surface, it’s much slower than what he’s used to in Hong Kong,” Murphy added. 
So watched the race rail-side with owner Li Fung-lok – both were gracious in defeat. The trainer was disappointed but not disheartened after seeing this year’s Dubai dream fade.
“We’ve done our job, we came and tried but you just don’t know until they try,” So said. “He just wasn’t happy on the surface, he couldn’t pick up. He jumped but didn’t have any speed on that surface. He kept on ok and beat a couple of horses. 
“It’s all experience,” he continued. “Now we go back to Hong Kong – the programme’s difficult for him now but it is what it is.” 
The Doug Watson-trained Kimbear took the dress rehearsal for the Godolphin Mile (1600m, dirt) by a length and a quarter from Secret Ambition with Musawaat third. That trio overhauled the front-running Heavy Metal, who weakened to fourth in the final stages. 
Earlier on the seven-race card, Jordan Sport lowered the 1200m track record by two hundredths of a second to 1m 10.18s in the G3 Mahab Al Shimaal (dirt), the prime lead-up to the Dubai Golden Shaheen at the course and distance in three weeks’ time. Trainer Fawzi Nass said the bay will “definitely” head to that Group 1 test, in which Hong Kong’s D B Pin is slated to oppose. 
The gelding is a two-time winner on artificial surfaces in Britain but had not encountered Meydan’s dirt at racing speed before this afternoon. Jordan Sport made the most of gate four and a sharp break to make all under Adrie de Vries, drawing seven-and-a-quarter lengths clear of runner-up Yalta.
“He’s going the right way,” said Nass, who has garnered two wins from five starts since acquiring Jordan Sport late last year. “He’s shown a lot of natural speed and he goes on the surface, being by Dubawi. The plan was to ping the gates and go – obviously he’s a dirt horse.” 
The Hong Kong Jockey Club will simulcast the Dubai World Cup meeting from Meydan on Saturday, 31 March.