Secret Weapon scuttles the big guns in Jockey Club Cup
November 20, 2016 05:35am
Secret Weapon wins 2016 Jockey Club Cup
Photo: The Hong Kong Jockey Club

Nash Rawiller fired Secret Weapon to an explosive victory that scuttled the big guns in the G2 LONGINES Jockey Club Cup (2000m) at Sha Tin this afternoon, Sunday, 20 November.
Dennis Yip’s 6/1 shot was last of nine at the turn into the home straight but quickened between rivals to take the lead 150 metres out, drawing clear for a length and a half triumph.
“Everyone’s seen this horse at his best, and when he can get that uninterrupted run and have an opportunity to let go like that, he’s a very high-class horse, and that’s what he proved today,” Rawiller said. The six-year-old ran the final 400m in 22.55s and stopped the clock at 2m 00.92s, the second fastest time in the race’s history.
That sharp outcome was thanks to Hugh Bowman setting a solid pace up front on the John Moore-trained Helene Happy Star, who held on for fourth. Flame Hero, a 79/1 outsider, carried Chad Schofield to the runner-up berth, while the brave Military Attack, the old man of the party at eight years of age, fought on for third under Joao Moreira.
“There was a little bit going on early; Anticipation and a couple of the others went very wide on the track, racing a little bit ungenerously, and my guy, to his credit, just spat out the bridle out the back. We were able to bide our time behind Joao and Military Attack and he gave me a brilliant cut into the race,” Rawiller said, who displayed coolness at his first time aboard the Choisir gelding.
“He was very strong over the 2000 metres today and you’d still expect there to be some improvement for International day,” he added.
Secret Weapon’s win was Yip’s first in open Pattern grade and the trainer is now eyeing one of the big pots at the HK$83 million LONGINES Hong Kong International Races on Sunday, 11 December. The British import is engaged in both the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Cup at the course and distance and the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile (1600m).
“I think the 2000 metres is his best distance, so we’ll aim towards the Cup in three weeks’ time,” Yip said.
Secret Weapon’s previous standout victory came in February, the HKG3 Centenary Vase Handicap over 1800m at Sha Tin – that race form was prominent today with runner-up Romantic Touch placing second in one of the day’s other features, the BOCHK Wealth Management Jockey Club Mile, and third-placed Flame Hero taking second in this contest. Secret Weapon followed that win with an unlucky seventh next time out in the G1 Hong Kong Gold Cup (2000m).
“Today I was very confident because last season he ran very well in the Gold Cup at this course and distance,” Yip said. “The field wasn’t too strong today, so I thought he would run a good race.
“Nash is suspended for the International day so I’ll have to have a think about which jockey will ride.”
The field did feature three standout 2000m performers of recent seasons, Designs On Rome and Blazing Speed lining up alongside their old foe Military Attack.
“Military Attack tried his hardest – he gives his heart to the fight and hopefully he can be recovered for the big race next month,” Moreira said. The gelding was lame upon dismounting.
Trainer Caspar Fownes said: “He pulled up a bit lame but we’ll have to see if it’s from his suspensory or his foot. He’s run enormous – it was an incredible run first-up. I had him just where I wanted him and it was an outstanding effort all-round. God willing, it’s only his foot, and, if it’s the suspensory, we’ll have to see how he is. We’ll know in the next couple of days what we’re dealing with.”
Blazing Speed, successful in this race in 2014 and runner-up a year ago, was two and three quarter lengths fifth this time around.
“He ran alright,” jockey Neil Callan said. “He was a little bit laboured the last 200m. I feel the grass is a little bit longer and there’s a little bit of cushion in the track. I know this horse likes to bounce off the ground so, you know, I think that may have blunted his speed a bit in the straight. But he had the run of the race and he just laboured the last 200m a little. No real excuses but I feel he’s better when he’s bouncing off the ground.”
Designs On Rome, the 2014 LONGINES Hong Kong Cup hero failed to back-up off a thrilling last start mile victory. He was unable to land a blow under Karis Teetan and finished last of nine.
“Today, they went a nice gallop the whole way. When I asked him, he didn’t respond like last time. Last time they went slow. Things just didn’t work out for him,” Teetan said.
Hong Kong racing resumes at Happy Valley on Wednesday, 23 November, when the selected runners for the LONGINES HKIR will be announced.
Source: The Hong Kong Jockey Club (David Morgan)


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