Straight Arron hoping to return to form in Champions & Chater Cup

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Caspar Fownes is remaining optimistic that yesterday's (21 May) barrier trial has on track to bounce back when he contests Sunday's (26 May) HK$13 million Champions & Chater Cup (2400m) at Sha Tin.

Below his best in the HK$28 million Group 1 (2000m) last month, Straight Arron finished 22 lengths behind the victorious Romantic Warrior on yielding ground, which also came as his first run after his slashing sixth in the Group 1 Dubai Turf (1800m).

Straight Arron was fourth over the line in his morning hit-out on the Sha Tin dirt, clocking 1m 13.71s over 1200m under .

“We just went out for a quiet little bit of work. We're happy with him – Vincent's happy with him. We just have to see how he is on the day, he has to rebound a lot – his prior performances have been very nice and his last run was a complete forgive,” Fownes said.

“It could have been due to the fact that he's just come back from Dubai and it might have been a bit too much for him, but he's had another month now and let's hope that he acquits himself well – we're looking to run in the first three.”

The 117-rater is a Group 2 and Group 3 winner in .

His best run this campaign came when he was fourth in the 2023 HK$36 million Group 1 Hong Kong Cup (2000m) last December.

The gelding has been tested over 2400m twice in Hong Kong.

He won the 2023 Group 3 (2400m) before finishing fourth in this contest last year behind two-time winner Russian Emperor.

“He won the Queen Mother over this trip but he's probably better at 2000 metres. Let's just see – looks to have this race at his mercy. He'll be short odds and it's up for grabs after that,” Fownes said.

Rebel's Romance travels to Hong Kong for the first time after his smashing victory in the Group 1 (2410m) in March.

He defeated global stars Shahryar, Liberty Island, Justin Palace, Emily Upjohn, Junko, Auguste Rodin and more in Dubai.

Fownes also saddles in Sunday's Champions & Chater Cup, while Five G Patch, La City Blanche, Moments In Time, Russian Emperor and Massive Sovereign round out the home team's entries.

Senor Toba finished 11th in the Queen Mother Memorial Cup earlier this month.

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