Ambitious Dragon Takes Another Step Towards His Return

 Among a massive 14-trial session, the longest many observers can recall, one horse stood out – not so much for his performance, but for his prior achievements and the anticipation generated by his imminent return.

Two-time Horse of the Year Ambitious Dragon had his second trial since returning from a serious tendon injury in the first 1,000m batch of the morning, and trainer Tony Millard says the eight-year-old will resume in the Group Two Oriental Watch Sha Tin Trophy on October 26.

Millard also confirmed that the jockey who partnered the five-time Group One winner in the trial, Frenchman Gerald Mosse, was booked to ride Ambitious Dragon first-up, and hopes to ride the star middle distance performer throughout his preparation.

All going well, Mosse will become Ambitious Dragon’s seventh jockey at his 27th career start later this month – a career that has so far netted more than HK$57 million from 13 wins.

Ambitious Dragon was injured when sixth in last year’s Group One Audemars Piguet QEII Cup, and has spent more than 18 months being painstakingly rehabilitated and brought back to fitness.

After an extremely quiet 1,200m dirt trial just under one month ago, Ambitious Dragon was given a sterner test by Mosse to finish first in his turf trial.

Mosse rolled along just behind the speed, but when given a squeeze with a little more than 200m to go, Ambitious Dragon sprinted through a gap. From there Mosse had to give the horse little more than a slight shake of the reins to keep him stretching out to the line.

Aside from the actual exercise and increased fitness the slowly-run trial will bring, Millard was most pleased with the gelding’s attitude, saying “he wanted to be there and showed he wants to race.”

“When Gerald asked for some effort to take a gap, he responded how we wanted him to,” Millard said. “It’s been a long road, and of course he needed that workout after such a long break, and he will probably need the run first-up as well.”

The South African trainer intends to give Ambitious Dragon two runs before the Hong Kong Mile on December 14, coming via the traditional lead-up, the Group Two Jockey Club Mile on November 23.

Source: South China Morning Post… http://www.scmp.com/sport/racing/article/1611543/ambitious-dragon-takes-another-step-towards-his-return

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