Danny Shum hoping Lockheed sprouts wings in Hong Kong Classic Mile

ockheed will bid for Classic Mile glory on Sunday
Group 1 placed Lockheed will bid for Classic Mile glory on Sunday.
Danny Shum is hoping Lockheed will get an opportunity to open his thrusters in Sunday’s (21 January) HK$10 million Hong Kong Classic Mile (1600m), the first leg of the Four-Year-Old Classic Series at Sha Tin Racecourse.

“His last two races, you have to forget them both,” the trainer said this morning (Tuesday, 16 January), reflecting on the British import’s Hong Kong career to date.

Lockheed caught the eye on debut in early December when he was shuffled right back to the tail turning for home in a 1200m Class 2 handicap but then ran on smartly to finish fifth. Last time out, over 1400m, the Exceed And Excel colt stalked the pace powerfully under Joao Moreira but was squeezed out of contention at the 150m mark, just as the Brazilian was about to engage full propulsion, and had to settle for fourth.

“I’m very happy with the horse and he will improve, race by race he has been improving,” Shum said. “His performances overseas were good, he showed plenty of class, and he’s in good form, he’s a happy horse and very easy to train. He’s getting better and better and I expect him to run a good race.”

The grey boasts high-end form in Europe: third behind dual Classic winner Churchill in the G1 National Stakes in Ireland (1400m) as a juvenile, and, at his final start pre-import, second in the G2 German 2,000 Guineas (1600m).

Lockheed attempted to make all in the latter race but was nabbed close home and beaten a neck by Poetic Dream. With little obvious pace in Sunday’s contest, the former William Haggas-trained galloper could find himself on the front end again.

“We will see the pace of the race, if there’s not much pace we could end up in third or fourth position, even lead, you never know,” Shum said.

Jockey Craig Williams will jet into town on Sunday morning. The Australian hoop will have his first sit on the Henry Cheng-owned horse in the pre-race parade ring.

“We’ll talk to Craig Williams on Friday night before he arrives and set up a plan and go from there – we’ll see what the draw is,” Shum said.

Lockheed does not hold an entry for the BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) on 18 March, the third and crowning leg of the Four-Year-Old Classic Series, but that is not by design.

“We forgot to push a button so he didn’t end up in the first Derby entries!” Shum admitted. “He will be a second entry for the Derby – I have been apologising to the owner and will be buying him a few dinners! The Derby is still the plan.”

Before then, Lockheed could also take in the three-race series’ second leg, the HK$10 million Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800m) on 18 February.

Also among the 13 entries for the season’s first four-year-old major on Sunday are Moreira’s top-rated mount Nothingilikemore, G1-winning imports Ruthven and Rivet, and the high-class Good Standing, Singapore Sling and Exultant.

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