Progressive Hinchinbrook three year-old Champion’s Way stamped himself as one of the brightest prospects for next season in Hong Kong when winning the Group III Lion Rock Trophy (1600m) at Sha Tin on Sunday.
Trained by John Size and ridden by Joao Moreira, Champions Way looked set for an easy win before racing greenly over the last furlong to score to by half length, taking his overall record to six wins and a second from just seven starts.
“I thought he should have won more easily than he did,” jockey Joao Moreira said of the hot favourite.
“When I asked him to quicken, he picked up for me and felt like he was going to go on and win well. But he just snaked around again, he shifted and that cost him something.
“He still needs to learn but I’m not worried for the future. He’s a young horse and he is still learning so you have to be happy with what he has done so far and it looks like he will only get better next season.”
John Size was satisfied with the win.
“If he’s got something to run at and has horses around him, he’s probably better schooled,” Size said. “If he has a couple of months off and comes out for his eighth start he’s probably going to do everything right. He hasn’t had any gear on him, he’s just done everything on his own; we haven’t tried to help him much because he keeps winning.”
A $150,000 Inglis Premier purchase from the Holbrook Thoroughbreds draft for John Foote Bloodstock, Champion’s Way will be set for bigger races next season.
“The target next season is the Four-Year-Old Classic Series, he won’t race again this season,” said his owner Dr. Arthur Leung.
It is a rare thing for a three-year-old to win a Group race in Hong Kong. Three years ago, Rapper Dragon won the inaugural edition of this race to buck that status quo and went on to become the first horse to sweep the Classic Series, winning the Hong Kong Classic Mile, Hong Kong Classic Cup and the BMW Hong Kong Derby the following season.
Champion’s Way is the 19th stakes-winner for Yarraman Park’s much missed sire Hinchinbrook, who has already sired a Hong Kong Group I winner in Beat the Clock.
Champion’s Way is the best of four winners from winning Redoute’s Choice mare Greta’s Yarn, who comes from the family of Group I winner Signify.
The third stakes-winner to carry the blood of champion sires Fastnet Rock and Redoute’s Choice, Champion’s Way has an interesting pedigree featuring a double cross of Danehill as well as Lunchtime and Storm Bird.