Sports

HK's Rich Tapestry to make history

NARROW WIN: Rich Tapestry (yellow cap) edging out Goldencents in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship.

RICH TAPESTRY is set to make history tomorrow (Singapore time) as Hong Kong's first Breeders' Cup runner and trainer Michael Chang Chun Wai said the gelding has settled in nicely at Santa Anita in Arcadia, America.

Chang has given Rich Tapestry plenty of time, shipping the Irish-bred son of Holy Roman Emperor in September to Southern California, where he won the Oct 4 Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship Stakes.

He beat a field that included reigning Breeders' Cup Sprint champion Secret Circle, a performance that contributed to his status as the early 5-1 second choice behind lukewarm 9-2 favourite Secret Circle in the US$1.5 million ($1.9 million) 1,200m race.

"Honestly, I do expect he still has a little of room for improvement on his last race," Chang said on Thursday, adding that Santa Anita's dirt track suits Rich Tapestry perfectly.

"I'm always confident when he runs on the dirt surface. He never misses."

Rich Tapestry will break from the sixth stall under Olivier Doleuze, a French-born jockey who is among the top riders in Hong Kong.

Although Chang says Rich Tapestry has the flexibility to adapt no matter how the race unfolds, he does have a preferred scenario.

"I would like to ask the jockey to sit behind the pace and try and catch them before the line," he said.

HEAVILY INVOLVED

Chang, who has trained six-year-old Rich Tapestry for 23 of his 27 lifetime starts, likes to be heavily involved with the horse's activities, even down to hot-walking him personally.

"I like to be with my horse," he said.

"I can tell when he's happy and feeling good, and those things make me happy and feel good.

"This is an easy horse to train. His temperament is good and he's smart."

On Thursday, Chang sent his charge for a 400m blow-out to "open up his wind" and was very pleased with it.

"He came back, everything OK, he's ready," he said.

"I think he will run a really good race." - AFP.