Dragon sets up possible Dubai clash with So You Think

Article courtesy of Dennis Ryan, THE INFORMANT

Hong Kong Horse of the Year Ambitious Dragon set up a possible Dubai World Cup clash with globe-trotting fellow New Zealand-bred So You Think when he ran away with the Gr. 1-HK Citibank Hong Kong Gold Cup at Sha Tin last Sunday.

So You Think is the highest rated entry for the US$10 million Dubai World Cup over 2000 metres on the artificial Tapeta surface at Meydan, with reports coming through from Ireland that he is right on target as he prepares for his first race since finishing sixth in early November in the Breeders’ Cup Classic on the Churchill Downs dirt track.

The prospects of Ambitious Dragon being given his chance in either the Dubai World Cup or the 1717-metre Dubai Duty Free hinge on his owner Johnson Lam, who has stated his concerns about the impact a trip to Dubai can have on a horse.

Trainer Terry Millard will assess the Pins gelding before deciding his next target, but the manner of last night’s win – the tenth of his career – indicated he would take little, if any, harm from it.

Under Douglas Whyte, Ambitious Dragon slotted across from the 2000-metre start point to settle one out in a distant trail with no shortage of speed up front. As the gaps began to close it became clear that the favourite had brought his A-game.

Whyte was still sitting pat as he idled up with 300 metres to run and the response was immediate when asked for. Ambitious Dragon was unchallenged over the final 200 metres as he hit the line comfortably clear of late finishers Xtension and California Memory.

The five-year-old’s win in the second leg of the Triple Crown earned a bonus of HK$2 million. As an alternative to the riches available in Dubai, another HK$3 million bonus can be his if he is asked to step up to 2400 metres in the final Triple Crown leg, the Champions & Chater Cup.

Ambitious Dragon was one of two winners on the Sha Tin programme for Pins, with Millard and Whyte also combining with the four-year-old Won Ton King Prawn in class three grade. The half-brother to New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes winner Saint Cecile and New Zealand Derby runner-up Mettre En Jeu was having his second start in Hong Kong after finishing first and second in two starts in Victoria last spring.

The Sha Tin brace capped a big weekend for Waikato Stud stallion Pins, whose three-year-old daughter Shopaholic completed a notable double when adding Saturday’s Gr. 2 Angus Armanasco Stakes to the previous week’s Gr. 3 The Vanity.

Article courtesy of Dennis Ryan, THE INFORMANT

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