Racing

Regency Legend now eyes HK Sprint

Trainer Danny Shum reckons the Group 1 event in December should be within his rising star's scope

Regency Legend's four-from-four victory on Sunday meant that trainer Danny Shum not only made good on a promise, but also bolstered his long-held assertion that participation in December's Group 1 LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint over 1,200m should be within his rising stable star's scope.

"That was real good, he'll go to the Group 1 - he can," Shum declared, after the four-year-old captured the Class 1 HKSAR Chief Executive's Cup Handicap over 1,200m at Sha Tin on Sunday.

"He loves to race fresh, so I'll keep him fresh, I won't run him too soon. I'll talk to the owner and talk to Zac (Purton) and we'll see where we go next.

"He might have only one more run in November and then into the Group 1 in December. I just hope I can have Zac on board."

The way Regency Legend swept clear of smart rivals to win the season's opening day feature by an easy 11/2 lengths under the champion jockey will have put the sprint division's leading players on alert.

"There's no reason why he can't go forward and progress to the Group 1 in December because in his races he's done nothing wrong," said Purton.

"The older horses are coming to the end of their tether a little bit, so it's leaving the door open for a horse like him.

"It was a fairly shallow race in the sense that the older horses had heavy weights and there wasn't really another young horse coming through, so he was well-rated and the race was always going to map well for him, he was going to be forward out of trouble."

And that is how it played out in the seven-runner contest. Bottom-weight Styling City led. Regency Legend sat on the outside and then sprinted past.

"After we went 50metres, it really was at his mercy, it was just a matter of him producing what he needed to," said Purton.

Things could have turned out differently for Regency Legend, though, had Shum not taken a patient approach.

The Pins gelding injured his left hind leg in March, which meant his season was curtailed with three unblemished wins on the board.

"The owner has given me a lot of support, he's been patient," said Shum, who also won with Good Runners Way in the season's opener .

"The horse hurt his leg and that really made me worried for a while but I didn't rush. I said 'give me time', and if we can keep him sound, he'll definitely win the HKSAR Chief Executive's Cup. So I made the promise half a year ago.

"It was easy. He's a very good horse at 1,200m, that's his best distance."

The Caspar Fownes-trained Lucky Nine won the feature in 2010 before going on to win the 2011 Hong Kong Sprint, while Sunday's runner-up Seasons Bloom went on to win the Group 1 Stewards' Cup over 1,600m for Shum after his 2017 win. - HKJC

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