Romantic Warrior goes for Hong Kong Gold Cup redemption

Romantic Warrior trials at Sha Tin on Tuesday morning.

Romantic Warrior will aim to go one better in next month’s HK$13 million Group 1 Hong Kong Gold Cup (2000m) for trainer Danny Shum.

Second to Golden Sixty by a head last year, Romantic Warrior stepped out for a warm up at Sha Tin this morning (Tuesday, January 23) under jockey James McDonald as his preparation revs up as he searches for a sixth Group 1 crown.

“He’s in great form. I’m really thrilled with him, he’s pulled up extremely well and it’s probably just what he needed to stimulate him again and get him ready for a month’s time where he has a big task ahead of him – he’s in great form and I’m very, very happy with him, I supposed it’s just where Danny wants him,” McDonald said.

Overhauling Youthful Deal late in the trial, Romantic Warrior clocked 1:11.54 as Encountered rolled into third position.

“He’s had this lovely break. He’s enjoyed himself, he’s got a spring in his step and he’s moving extremely well and that’s what he took out of today.

“He had a nice exercise where he took a bit of a blow but I’m sure he might have one more trial and that will tick him over beautifully and he’s definitely forward enough for this preparation – he’s in tremendous form,” McDonald said.

Shum’s Hong Kong Classic Mile (1600m) entrants, Chill Chibi and Helene Feeling, finished fifth and sixth, respectively, ahead of their test on February 4 at Sha Tin.

The Hong Kong Gold Cup is run as the second leg of Hong Kong’s Triple Crown on February 25 at Sha Tin. The race was won by Golden Sixty in 2021 and 2023, while Russian Emperor grabbed the 2022 renewal.

Romantic Warrior became Hong Kong’s third horse in history after Golden Sixty and Beauty Generation to earn over HK$100 million following his victory in last month’s HK$36 million Group 1 Hong Kong Cup (2000m).

The Hong Kong International Sale graduate won the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) the start prior, delivering Hong Kong’s first win in the famous Moonee Valley race.

“He’s the king, though. Over 2000 metres he’s simply the best and I hope he maintains that record because he wears his heart on his sleeve and gives his all,” McDonald said.

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