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Aethero crushes Jockey Club Sprint field

Steve Bennett in News 18 Nov 2019
  • Aethero cruises to victory in the Jockey Club Sprint
Aethero - takes out the Jockey Club Sprint

Aethero lived up to his stables hopes by destroying his opposition in the Group Two Jockey Club Sprint at Sha Tin on Sunday.

With Karis Teetan aboard, he gave nothing else a chance as he careered away to win the event by two lengths from the hard-chasing Hot King Prawn and Beat The Clock filling out the top-three positions.

Jumping from gate nine in the field of 13 (after Pingwu Spark was scratched at the barrier for refusing to load), Teetan took the three-year-old straight to the lead and dictated the race from thereon. 

Concerns as to why the winning margin was so big in a star-studded line-up were soon put to rest with one look at the clock, showing Aethero covering the 1200m trip in 1:07.58, which was just eight one hundredths of a second outside the great Sacred Kingdom’s time of 1:07.50, set 12 years ago.

The colourful comments of race caller Brett Davis stood out again as he referred to Aethero (passing the 100m mark) as the ‘rocket of the racecourse’, concluding as he passed the post in saying, “wow, what a three-year-old he is”.

After that performance, only the very brave would argue with those comments.
As expected, trainer John Moore was elated with the result but did predict the possibility of a track record being set, and he was close to being right.

Moore paid homage to his young sprinter but also acknowledged the efforts of Hot King Prawn and the big weight difference in the event.

“It was impressive and just outside the track record but he was carrying a postage stamp" Moore said.
"Hot King Prawn carried 10 pounds more than us and still closed off with no previous run this season.
“But, saying that, his run was great. 
"He’s still only a three-year-old and he did everything right: he jumped away from the blocks and got across to the lead from gate nine there and he did it under his own steam.
“We’ll go to the Hong Kong Sprint now and it’s an international Group 1 so his work will be cut out but you can’t ask anything more and he’ll still have a nice weight concession as a Southern Hemisphere three-year-old.”

Aethero only carried 52kgs which was roughly 7kgs less than the Group One winners in the race and 4.5kgs less than the rest of the field.

Moore will now prepare the son of Sebring for next month’s Group One Longines Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) where he will carry 53kgs (just 1kg more than he did on Sunday), while the rest of the field will carry 57kgs.

Trainer - John Moore

Moore, being aware of this, believes his opposition will have to improve to see a different result.

“Hot King Prawn did close and he was carrying 123 pounds, which is a difference of 10 pounds and it’ll be nine pounds next time so Hot King Prawn has to step up and my horse only has to repeat what he’s done today” Moore said.
“He’s going to be very close next time.
“If he draws the same sort of gate in the International race, and can go up and dictate, he’s a live chance for Hong Kong and the stable.”

In another development, Pakistan Star broke from the gates but decided (very quickly) that he would not be taking any further part in the event.

After travelling 50 metres, the Shamardal gelding stopped dead in his tracks and despite desperate attempts by jockey Blake Shinn, the seven-year-old was adamant they weren’t moving any further.

This is the second time the Paul O’Sullivan-trained gelding has refused to race and this latest episode has put his racing future (in Hong Kong at least) in jeopardy.

“It’s not a new trick!” O’Sullivan said in frustration. 
“Blake said from the time he jumped he was never going to complete the course.
“I can’t see any reason why: he’s not in any pain, I think physically, he’s perfect so it’s in his head.
“I don’t know where we go from here; Beas River might do the trick.
“I’ll talk to Kerm (Din), the owner, and see what he wants to do.”

Pakistan Star - future to be determined 

Jockey, Blake Shin was just as frustrated and couldn’t offer any better excuses.

“It was very disappointing, he began well but it was apparent to me right from when they opened [the gates] that the brakes were on and he didn’t want to participate,” he said.
“It is so unfortunate for a great horse like him, it is all in the mind.” 

Hong Kong Jockey Club chief steward Kim Kelly told the South China Morning Post trainer Paul O’Sullivan and Pakistan Star’s owners needed to have a think about his future and report back to him.

Stewards will consider what future (if any) the horse has after hearing back from O’Sullivan.

In breaking news, trainer John Moore has confirmed that connections of Aethero have been contacted by slot holders of The Everest after his slashing performance.

“I won’t say who but someone has already contacted George (Moore) to say they want to give him their slot in The Everest next year,” Moore said.
“Hopefully the government will change the quarantine restrictions back to two weeks here in Hong Kong and two there.  
“You have to remember that I am putting the white flag in Hong Kong. I am looking for somewhere else to change.
“I would have to speak to the owner as I wouldn’t be licenced in Hong Kong. David Hayes is on his way up here so I would have to speak if I would like to train him in Australia or whatever country then back for The Everest.
“It would be in consideration.”

Betting Agencies reacted accordingly and have slashed his opening quote for The Everest from $21 into $11.

Still heading the all-in markets are Bivouac and Yes Yes Yes who share the top line of betting at $8.

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Aethero crushes Jockey Club Sprint field

Aethero lived up to his stables hopes by destroying his opposition in the Group Two Jockey Club Sprint at Sha Tin on Sunday.

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