Romantic Warrior Sizzles Ahead Of Gr1 Showdown

The record-breaker!

Romantic Warrior was the centre of attention at Sha Tin on Tuesday, 10 January, as he pleased connections with a soft first-past-the-post effort in his 1000m turf course hit-out, only 19 days before his probable blockbuster showdown with Golden Sixty and California Spangle in the HK$12 million Gr1 Stewards’ Cup (1600m).

Romantic Warrior hits the line under Karis Teetan (Pic – HKJC)

Trained by Danny Shum and paired with Karis Teetan, Romantic Warrior clocked 58.75s down the straight as he strode one and a quarter lengths clear of Super Fortune, while Super Win Dragon finished in third position.

“He trialled good, I always say ‘he’s very professional this horse’ and I’m happy with that. Karis came back and reported everything was positive, he’s a happy horse, he’s sound and we’re ready for the Stewards’ Cup,” Shum said.

Shum’s charge – who has won nine of his 10 starts in Hong Kong – will hit a Hong Kong Triple Crown campaign this term which kicks off with the Stewards’ Cup before the Gr1 Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup (2000m) in February and Gr1 Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup (2400m) in May.

“We were very happy with today, we let him come and do what he always wants to do, just leave him comfortably and I must say that at the 200 (metre mark), I put a bit of a pressure on him and he responded – just pure class,” Teetan said.

Romantic Warrior was last seen demolishing a stacked Gr1 LONGINES Hong Kong Cup (2000m) field just last month by a record-breaking four and a half lengths as the widest margin winner in the history of the race.

The Stewards’ Cup is scheduled to run on Sunday, 29 January along with the first leg of the Four-Year-Old Classic Series – the HK$12 million Hong Kong Classic Mile (1600m).

“This race (Stewards’ Cup) will catch everyone’s eyes, not only in Hong Kong, it’s the best three horses in Hong Kong fighting together and it will be amazing, an amazing race, this is something special,” Shum said.

Hong Kong’s Triple Crown – unlike many others – is not age restricted and has only been achieved once in 1994 by the great River Verdon. Romantic Warrior will pick up a HK$10 million bonus if he prevails in all three legs.

“It will be good, the 1600 metres is a little bit short for Romantic Warrior, if it was 2000 metres, I would be confident but he’s professional, he’s talented and hopefully with a good draw that can make it a little bit easier,” Shum said.

Teetan will renew his race day partnership with Romantic Warrior, having previously paired the Acclamation gelding to victory in the 2022 Hong Kong Classic Mile (1600m), 2022 BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) and 2022 Gr1 FWD QEII Cup (2000m).

Romantic Warrior wins the 2022 FWD QEII Cup (Pic – HKJC)

“He’s going pretty good, firstly in the mornings, I’ve been on him every day and I’m pretty happy with the way he is going. He needed the trial today, he needed to go and stretch his legs because he had a bit too much energy in the mornings,” Teetan said.

Romantic Warrior returns in the Stewards’ Cup for his first run as a five-year-old looking to reach all new highs this year following an unbelievable first campaign.

“Massively (regarding the horse’s improvement), he was a little baby when I rode him in the Hong Kong Classic Mile – he was doing everything right but I just knew that in six to eight or nine months down the line that he would be a different horse and he’s proven that,” Teetan said.

Russian Emperor also stepped out in the same trial as Romantic Warrior, crossing the line in fifth position, clocking 59.32s under Harry Bentley.

Ka Ying Star stepped out over 1600m on turf under Luke Ferraris, rolling over the line in first spot for Tony Cruz in 1m 37.91s. Later this morning, Waikuku clocked 1m 11.84s as he finished in fourth spot in a dirt trial over 1200m under Vagner Borges.

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