Voyage Warrior drew comparisons with one of trainer Ricky Yiu’s past Group 1-winning speedsters after blazing away from his rivals in the Class 2 Cherry Handicap down the 1000m straight at Sha Tin yesterday afternoon (Wednesday, 1 January).
“He’s a bullet,” jockey Joao Moreira told the trainer as he returned to unsaddle.
Shortly afterwards, the Brazilian said: “Ricky mentioned to me before the race that he’s got a little bit of Amber Sky in him and he’s probably right, he’s so speedy.”
The four-year-old bounced back from a pair of disappointing defeats to score by an easy three lengths.
“Fortunately, he seems a bit more mature and reliable this time. I was able to manage his energy and he was able to show me what he’s got at the end. He’s a good horse with a bright future,” Moreira added.
Amber Sky’s seven career wins came over 1000m, notably the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint in Dubai, but Yiu believes his current charge will be better over 1200m.
“I said to Joao, ‘just remember Amber Sky and use his gate speed’. When he came back I asked him what percentage he would give him compared to Amber Sky and he said 90%. The other 10% will come over 1200 metres,” Yiu said.
“Amber Sky was 1000 (metres) but I hope Voyage Warrior can cope with 1200 because I want to try him in a big international event.
“He’s been to Conghua – a lot of my horses like going there – we took the cross noseband off, he put on a bit of weight and in general he’s even more relaxed. The change of environment at Conghua has changed him a bit.”
Lucky More is another exciting young talent on the up. The Danny Shum-trained three-year-old colt carried champion jockey Zac Purton to a smooth one-length triumph in section two of the Class 3 Chinese Banyan Handicap (1200m).
Purton earlier teamed up with trainer Frankie Lor for victory in the Class 4 Poplar Handicap (1400m). Joyful Heart (123lb) was all out at the line to hold the late-flying Circuit Three (128lb).