Two-time Hong Kong Champion Stayer (2021/22 & 2022/23) Russian Emperor will ship to Doha, Qatar on Friday, February 9, in his quest to secure consecutive wins in the QAT Group 1 H.H. The Amir Trophy (2400m) at Al Rayyan for trainer Douglas Whyte.
“He leaves on Friday night and he'll have an easy day on Saturday (February 10) followed by a few nice canters across the next few days. I'll jump on him on Tuesday morning (February 13) – he'll have a turf gallop.
“He's been there and he's a professional at travelling – he loves it and he's very smart. He'll be in the same quarantine box and same environment. I'm looking forward to getting over there,” Whyte said.
Laying the groundwork for his Middle East adventure on Tuesday morning at Sha Tin in a turf barrier trial over 1600m, Russian Emperor cruised through his hit-out to finish third under jockey Brenton Avdulla in a time of 1:37.73.
“That was a beautiful trial. He travelled nicely and did everything that was asked of him in the straight – he hit the line strongly and it was a nice top-off piece of work ahead of the 17th of February,” Whyte said.
Russian Emperor has earnt HK$47.99 million. Sired by Galileo, the seven-year-old suffered a left front fetlock injury at the end of last November.
“He's always had niggling issues and we've managed him carefully in the past and he seems as good as gold at the moment,” Whyte said.
All three of Russian Emperor's wins in Hong Kong have come at Group 1 level, previously claiming the 2022 Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup over Golden Sixty and a pair of Group 1 Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup (2400m) triumphs in 2022 and 2023.
Russian Emperor placed seventh in the HK$13 million Group 1 Stewards' Cup (1600m) behind Voyage Bubble last month.
“There's Rebel's Romance and Zeffiro – he ran second in the Hong Kong Vase (Group 1, 2400m). So, it's a tougher assignment in Qatar but my horse has fresh legs and he's in good order,” Whyte said.
Israr, Point Lonsdale, Satono Glanz, North Bridge and Simca Mille are all potentials to run in the H.H. The Amir Trophy, a contest worth US$2.5 million (approx. HK$19.55 million).