Champion sire I Am Invincible sired his first stakes-winner in Hong Kong on Sunday when talented sprinter Wishful Thinker captured the Group II Premier Bowl (1200m) at Sha Tin.
Sent out a long shot at 40-1, Wishful Thinker scored a head win over the favourite Computer Patch (Exceed and Excel), a last start winner of the Group III National Day Cup.
Having just his third start for new trainer Dennis Yip, the rejuvenated seven year-old produced the best win of his career.
Three horses have claimed the Group I HK International Sprint after winning the Premier Bowl in the same season – Absolute Champion (2006), Aerovelocity (2014) and Mr Stunning (2017).
Winning jockey Derek Leung said Yip’s decision to take the blinkers off Wishful Thinker was one of the keys to his success along with the genuine pace at which the race was run.
“We took the blinkers off and kept him fresh for today. He was more relaxed today, tried hard and raced very good. Last time he was bumped the beginning and then we tried to chase the winner and he got a bit keen,” Leung said of his distant fourth behind yesterday’s runner-up in the G3 National Day Cup Handicap (1000m) on 1 October.
“This time he raced much better with the blinkers off and last time he carried top weight and this time he carried the low weight. The weight helped him a lot and the pace was good which suited the horses coming from behind.”
“I hope so,” Leung said when asked whether the Hong Kong Sprint might be on his agenda, “I’m sure he will run there”.
An $80,000 Magic Millions March purchase for Belmont Bloodstock from the JS Thoroughbreds draft, Wishful Thinker was bought to pinhook through the Inglis Ready2Race Sale where he passed in shy of his $150,000 reserve.
He started his career in Victoria with Mick Price and won two of six starts saluting at Ballarat and Moonee Valley before being sold to Hong Kong.
He now has the overall record of nine wins and nine placings from 34 starts.
The best of eight winners from winning Barathea (IRE) mare Zebithea, Wishful Thinker is the 58th stakes-winner for I Am Invincible, but his first in Hong Kong.