Romantic Warrior had an easy trial victory at Sha Tin this morning ahead of his defence of the Group 1 FWD QEII Cup (1m 2f) on April 30.
The son of Rathbarry Stud’s Acclamation will bid to become the first horse in two decades to claim successive victories in the HK$25 million race.
Jockey Zac Purton partnered the five-year-old in this morning’s trial. Romantic Warrior jumped cleanly from stall 10 in the 1 mile grass trial before taking up a forward position and gradually building momentum before forging clear in the straight. He defeated Group 1 winner Panfield by five and a half lengths in 1m 36.16s.
Romantic Warrior, bred by Corduff Stud and TJ Rooney, was runner-up to Golden Sixty on both of his most recent starts, in the Group 1 Stewards’ Cup over a mile on January 29, and then in the Group 1 Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup (1m 2f) on 26 February.
Danny Shum, Romantic Warrior’s trainer, was quoted by the Honk Kong Jockey Club this morning as saying:
“It was a good trial. The horse is good. Last start, he was a little bit tired so I gave him some time off – seven weeks off – which did him good. He recovered quickly and he is good now, fingers crossed,” Shum said.
The nine-time winner Romantic Warrior will attempt to emulate Japan’s Eishin Preston (2002 and 2003) in claiming consecutive QEII Cup triumphs.
He will be ridden by James McDonald in the FWD QEII Cup before Purton takes over in the G1 Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup (1m 4f) on 28 May.