Super Sunny Sing firms in Derby calculations with Classic Cup win

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after sealing a memorable feature double with (1800m) triumph aboard Super Sunny Sing at Sha Tin, Vincent Ho wasted little time in identifying the principal contenders – and opponents – for the (2000m) on March 19 after a defining afternoon.

After Super Sunny Sing claimed the traditional Hong Kong Derby lead-up in dashing fashion and Caspar Fownes anointed another leading Classic aspirant with Super Arron's maiden Hong Kong win, Ho declared Beauty Eternal as the horse to beat.

Marvelling at Super Sunny Sing's fourth successive win, Ho lavished praise on the Nicconi gelding just over 70 minutes after partnering 2020 Hong Kong Derby champion Golden Sixty to a stirring win in the Group 1 Hong Kong (2000m).

2023 Hong Kong Classic Cup – Super Sunny Sing

Contemplating Super Sunny Sing's worthiness as a Derby candidate, Ho said: “He's getting more mentally mature and he's relaxing so well, so he can hopefully go to the Derby. I think Mr Size's horse will be very hard to beat, but let's see.

“I was always confident today and Chris and his team did an extraordinary job to keep the horse well and now, aiming for the Derby, we have to get him recovered. This horse has improved so much – it's like he knows how to win and when we stepped up to 1600 metres, there was no problem and he had a great turn of foot. He's a very smart horse. We have something special here.”

Savouring Hong Kong Classic Cup redemption after Redkirk Warrior's head- second to Thunder Fantasy in 2015, trainer Chris So said: “To get a horse to win this race makes me very happy and it relieves a lot of pressure now.

“Today has proven that he should handle further distance but let's see how he pulls up – if he's sound and happy, we target the Derby. We won't change too much on the programme and just keep him happy.”

Super Sunny Sing, who boasts five wins from nine starts, collected a PPG Bonus of HK$1 million for his latest success.

Earlier, John Size's emerging star Beauty Eternal underlined already compelling Hong Kong Derby claims with a devastating win in the Class 2 Citigold Handicap (1600m) under Zac Purton.

Collecting a PPG bonus of HK$1 million for winning at Class 2 before turning five, the 84-rater stalked the pace before cruising over the final 400m – untested – in 23.17s to further enhance his reputation with a fourth win from five starts.

“It was good – it was what I expected, just let him have a nice bit of exercise on the way through. He got into a lovely spot, he did it easy,” Purton said. “He enjoyed it, he pulled up good.”

Asked if he had any concerns about Beauty Eternal stretching to 2000m for the Derby, Purton said: “I think he'll be fine, especially against his own age. He'll be fine.”

also emerged as a Hong Kong Derby contender with a bullocking win in the Class 3 Citi Insurance Services Handicap (1800m), weaving through traffic under Blake Shinn for Caspar Fownes.

“He's a nice horse, I've had him for only three weeks and it's nice to get a result in a short period of time,” Fownes said. “Of course, he'll run in the Derby – it's 1,000 per cent. He should get eight points for the win and that will get him well into recognition for the Derby and his overseas form tells you he's a Derby horse.

“He was held up the whole straight today and if he'd got out earlier he would have won by a bigger margin.”

A Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) winner in Australia when trained by , Straight Arron also collected a PP Bonus of HK$1 million.

Douglas Whyte-trained Tamra Blitz also secured a HK$1 million PP Bonus for his owners with victory in the Class 3 Citi Mortgage Services Handicap (1400m) under a driving ride from Antoine Hamelin.

A treble left Purton perched on 99 wins for the 2022/23 season as the Australian bids to post at least 100 victories in a campaign for the seventh consecutive term.

The five-time Hong Kong champion clinched his double after box-seating on Tony Cruz-trained Brave Dreams to clinch the Class 4 Citi Ultima Handicap (1200m) before making sealing a three-timer atop Size's Unpresuming in the Class 4 Citi Wealth Management Services Handicap (1400m).

's Pleasant Endeavor continued a remarkably consistent season with victory in the Class 3 Citi Private Bank Handicap (1000m) for Derek Leung. The Redoute's Choice gelding has had six starts this preparation for two wins and three placings but, in a highly-competitive sprint, prevailed at 19/1.

Fortune President ended Me Tsui's 106-start run out of outs a short-head triumph under in the Class 4 Citi Global Wealth Handicap (1650m, dirt) before 10lb-claiming apprentice Angus Chung combined with reigning champion trainer to claim the Class 3 Citigold Private Client Handicap (1650m, dirt) aboard True Legend, who posted his third victory at the course and distance.

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