Fahey confident of Hong Kong Sprint contender Growl

European hopeful Growl completing track work before the Hong Kong Sprint on Sunday

THE Europeans have a dreadful record in the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint, but champion trainer Richard Fahey believes his runner “an absolute star” ahead of the feature at Sha Tin on Sunday night.

Four-year-old sprinter Growl isn’t one of the well-backed runners in the Hong Kong Sprint at $81 with Sportsbet.com.au, but Fahey believes he has an underrated runner on his hands.

“He is an unassuming character and it is hard to know how good he actually is,” Fahey said, who trained trained 235 winners in Europe last season.

Growl finished a stylish second in the Group 1 British Champions Sprint Stakes at Ascot in October and he said the improvement this season has done its confidence a world of good.

“Growl is so straightforward that he could train himself. We got him just when he was starting to come right,” Fahey said.

“Growl ran easily the best race of his life at Ascot and then when doing what he had to do to win at Doncaster last time – sprinters winning is good for their confidence.


“When I saw the photo of him arriving off the plane in Hong Kong I thought he looked a bit light, but now I’ve seen him here I think he’s looking grand.”

Growl is best suited to running on a slow track without a turn, but Fahey rejected worries that his runner won’t handle the conditions it will face at Sha Tin on Sunday.

“Growl’s got some good fast ground form, I’m not remotely worried by the bend and, though it is obviously not ideal, last year’s Sprint winner came from an even higher gate,” Fahey said.

Growl completed a lap of the track on Friday for work rider Fiona McSharry and Fahey said a change in gear has helped.

“We’re here more in hope than confidence but Growl certainly looks really well,” Fahey said.

“He’s been fitted with cheek-pieces on his last two starts which have both been terrific efforts so of course he will wear them again on Sunday.”

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