Hong Kong Duo Could Be Big In Japan

Race is off at 08h40 Sunday morning

Ricky Yiu is optimistic Voyage Bubble can upstage Hong Kong champion Romantic Warrior when the decorated pair clash in the Gr1 Yasuda Kinen which will be run over a mile at Tokyo Racecourse on Sunday.

With most Japanese form pundits declaring Romantic Warrior and local galloper Soul Rush the hardest to beat in the JPY388.8 million (approx. HK$19.47 million) feature, Yiu believes Voyage Bubble can topple Romantic Warrior.

Voyage Bubble stretches in work this week (Pic – HKJC)

“I think we have a chance (of beating Romantic Warrior). I think Romantic Warrior is better over 1800m or 2000m-plus, but my fella has more over a mile and should be able to run a better race than him,” Yiu said. “That’s what I believe and otherwise I wouldn’t come.”

Yiu, who previously tasted success in Japan with Ultra Fantasy in the 2010 G1 Sprinters Stakes (1200m) at Nakayama, said Voyage Bubble’s performance when 13th in the G1 Dubai Turf (1800m) should be dismissed.

“Generally speaking, I think with the run in Dubai, we should forget the run. A horse fell next to him in the straight and the jockey (Mickael Barzalona) could not use him much because he had nowhere to go,” Yiu said.

“He had a little bit of setback after Dubai – only for a week or so – but since he’s been home, he’s been back to his old form. He’s on track every morning, he finishes his feed. The barrier trial in Hong Kong before he came here was promising as well.

“He’s a tough horse. He’s adapted really well to the left-handed track. He’s really good. He’s amazing and all the feedback has been very good but he looked even better when I saw him in the flesh.

“You have to have the right horse to participate in this particular race.”

Yiu said a possible start in the Gr1 Takarazuka Kinen (2200m) at Kyoto Racecourse on 23 June would hinge onSunday’s display.

“It depends on how he runs in the Yasuda Kinen. He’s a versatile horse. He’s won over a mile, he’s won over 2000 (metres). We’ll decide after Sunday. It depends on how he runs and feedback from the jockey,” Yiu said.

To start from barrier 15, Voyage Bubble will be ridden by Zac Purton, while James McDonald will pilot Romantic Warrior from gate seven.

While Yiu has the highest regard for Romantic Warrior, he is wary of Japan’s Soul Rush, Namur, Serifos and Danon Scorpion.

“There are a lot of good Japanese horses and we’ve seen a lot of Japanese horses running well in Europe, Hong Kong, Dubai, America,” Yiu said.

Partnered by Joao Moreira, Soul Rush drew barrier 10, while Geoglyph and Namur will jump from gates four and five, respectively. Elton Barows, Serifos and Danon Scorpion have drawn the three outside gates, respectively, in the 18-horse field.

Voyage Bubble and Romantic Warrior will attempt to deliver Hong Kong’s third Yasuda Kinen success after the victories of Bullish Luck for Tony Cruz and Brett Prebble in 2006 and Fairy King Prawn in 2000 for Ivan Allan and Robbie Fradd.

  • The Gr1 Yasuda Kinen will be run at Tokyo Racecourse at 08h40 on Sunday.

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