Massive Sovereign faces QEII Cup and Romantic Warrior acid test

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Massive Sovereign

Massive Sovereign will aim to join rare company when he lines up in the HK$28 million Group 1 (2000m) at Sha Tin on Sunday (April 28).

Unbeaten across two incredible performances in Hong Kong, including in the HK$26 million (2000m), Massive Sovereign is bidding to join Vengeance Of Rain (2005), Dragon (2011), Designs On Rome (2014), (2016) and Romantic Warrior (2022) by completing the Hong Kong Derby-QEII Cup double in the same season.

Perhaps Hong Kong racing's brightest rising star, Massive Sovereign reunites with the city's dominant force, Zac Purton, the winner of 1,701 races. Purton has partnered Massive Sovereign in both outings for former champion trainer Dennis Yip.

“It's hard to do what he did in the Derby, but he's against his own age there and now he has to go and do it against the older horses. It's another big step for him. I'm hopeful that he's able to do it.

“It's a good chance to see how he measures up against the older horses. He felt really good in his trial last Friday (April 19). This race gives us our chance to see how we measure up,” Purton said.

Massive Sovereign rounded up his BMW Hong Kong Derby rivals last month in race record time (since the distance was extended to 2000m), clocking 1:59.85.

The four-year-old tackles Romantic Warrior for the first time, who has the chance to become the first three-time FWD QEII Cup winner after his triumphs in 2022 and 2023.

“It's a really strong race. The international runners come in with good form and we have Romantic Warrior – he's pretty hard to beat wherever he goes, and they're well exposed, they have good ratings and we know what we're going to get from them,” Purton said.

“Although, we don't know how the track is going to be. That's a question mark that we can't answer until we get to race day with the weather (rain) that's around this week.”

Massive Sovereign was formerly trained by Aidan O'Brien. He was a two-time winner in Ireland.

Straight Arron, Happy Together, Five G Patch, , , Hishi Iguazu, , North Bridge and also feature in the FWD QEII Cup.

Purton won the 2020 FWD QEII Cup with Exultant.

The Australian reunites with Beauty Eternal in the HK$22 million Group 1 FWD Champions Mile (1600m) for John Size, seeking a third win in the race after a pair of victories with Beauty Generation (2018 & 2019).

Beauty Eternal has won eight times from 16 starts, including the HK$5.35 million Group 2 Jockey Club Mile (1600m) earlier this season before finishing second in the HK$13 million Group 1 Stewards' Cup (1600m).

“He's sort of got to a mark in these Group 1 races against the best horses we have and he just hasn't been able to find that extra length and a half or so. He just keeps coming up a little bit short. John keeps turning him out in good order and he keeps trying his hardest and gives us everything he has got,” Purton said.

, Voyage Bubble, Galaxy Patch, Taj Dragon, Red Lion, Beauty Joy, Elton Barows, , Obamburumai and Champagne Color are also in the line-up.

Purton links with Flying Ace in the HK$22 million Group 1 Chairman's Sprint Prize (1200m) for David Hall.

“He's honest, he runs well and he's been littered with bad barriers this season. He's been on the outside and you have to go back and give them all such a big head start. Then the one day he drew a nice gate, he found a nice spot and won, but that was in a lower class. It's a big step up to where he is against these horses,” Purton said.

The 41-year-old hopes the leader of the race, whether it be California Spangle, Victor The Winner or someone else, receives pressure at the head of the pack on Sunday.

“That's been one of the frustrating things with our sprint races across the past 12 months. There's just been no speed in them at all, no pressure, and the leaders have been able to control the race and dictate. They've been getting it their own way and it'd be nice if there was a little bit more pressure in the race to help us out,” he said.

Purton previously won the Chairman's Sprint Prize on Ivictory (2018) and Lucky Sweynesse (2023).

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