Romantic Warrior sharpens up for QEII Cup with strong trial

Romantic Warrior cruises under Zac Purton.

Bidding to become the first horse in two decades to win successive HK$25 million Group 1 QEII Cup’s (2000m), Romantic Warrior limbered up for his title defence on April 30 with an effortless trial victory at Sha Tin on Tuesday morning.

Partnered by Zac Purton, Romantic Warrior jumped cleanly from barrier 10 in the 1600m grass trial before taking up a forward position and gradually building momentum before forging clear in the straight, downing fellow Group 1 winner Panfield by five and a half lengths in 1:36.16.

Beaten into second place at each of his past two starts by Golden Sixty in the Group 1 Stewards’ Cup (1600m) on January 29 and then the Group 1 Hong Kong Gold Cup (2000m) on February 26, Romantic Warrior was given a break by trainer Danny Shum to rejuvenate.

Shum was pleased with Romantic Warrior’s willing display this morning ahead of the April 30 showcase.

“It was a good trial. The horse is good. Last start, he was a little bit tired so I gave him some time off – seven weeks off – which did him good. He recovered quickly and he is good now, fingers crossed,” Shum said.

Attempting to emulate Japan’s Eishin Preston (2002 and 2003) consecutive QEII Cup triumphs, Romantic Warrior will be ridden by James McDonald in the QEII Cup before Purton takes over in the Group 1 Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup (2400m) on 28 May.

The Hong Kong International Sale Graduate swept to victory in last year’s QEII Cup under Karis Teetan, defeating Tourbillon Diamond and Panfield to complete a wondrous first season with seven wins from eight starts.

Riding the 2022 Hong Kong Derby (2000m) and Hong Kong Cup (2000m) winner for the first time in a trial since November 8, Purton was impressed by Romantic Warrior.

“He felt fine there. I rode him in a trial earlier in the season and action was a little bit short and he wasn’t quite fit at the time, but he was a different horse this morning,” the five-time Hong Kong champion jockey said.

“He was moving a lot better and he trialled really well.”

More Hong Kong horse racing news

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments