Sky Field upstaged his top-class stablemate Sky Darci in Sunday’s HK$3.5m Gr.3 Premier Cup (1400m) at Sha Tin.
Bred by Mike Ryan, a client of Segenhoe, Sky Field was bought by the Kwan family for $175,000 from Trelawney Stud’s draft at Karaka 2018.
The son of Deep Field has now had 14 starts for five wins, five placings and HK$10.5m in stakes – the equivalent of NZ$1.95m, which is 11 times his purchase price. This was his first stakes win, but he placed in the Group One Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) earlier this year.
Despite his impressive record, the four-year-old went into the Premier Cup in the shadow of his high-flying Casper Fownes-trained stablemate Sky Darci – who triumphed in this year’s Hong Kong Derby (2000m) and has earned more than HK$21m in stakes. However, Sunday was all about a barnstorming finish by Sky Field.
The Fownes pair dropped back in the early stages of the race, sitting second-last and last among an 11-horse field through the first 300 metres. Blake Shinn soon began to move closer on Sky Field, sliding up into sixth and sitting well within striking distance as the field rounded the home turn.
Shinn sent Sky Field into top gear in the straight and he sprinted to the lead 200 metres from home, rapidly opening up a commanding advantage.
Sky Darci made ground strongly down the outside, but Sky Field was too far in front. He scored by a length and a quarter from Sky Darci, stopping the clock at a quick 1:20.55.
Sky Field’s rasping finish validated trainer Caspar Fownes’ faith in Sky Field gelding and provided Blake Shinn with a massive thrill, leaving Fownes to plot a possible course to December’s 2021 LONGINES Hong Kong International Races.
“I’ve told you how good he is and it was wonderful to see Blake get the result with him. He settled beautifully for Blake last start and again today over an extra furlong he settled really well. In the run ‘I said ‘I know what he can do’. The best is yet to come with him, so it’s wonderful,” Fownes said.
Shinn enjoyed a trouble-free trip before unleashing the gelding.
“Caspar just emphasised to switch the horse off and use his best asset, which is his turn of foot. The horse did everything right,” the Melbourne Cup-winning jockey said.
“When I produced him, he picked them up effortlessly and ran right through the line. It’s great because we’ve all believed in this horse’s ability and he stood up and beat a quality field. It’s just fantastic to win a Group race here in Hong Kong.”
Describing Sky Field’s acceleration as “electric”, Shinn said the chestnut “feels like a genuine Group 1 horse and he’s been placed in the sprint two runs ago at the highest level in Hong Kong and from the first time I got on him, I thought he was a Group 1 horse.”
“Even though he didn’t win a Group 1 today, I’m sure next preparation he’s only going to flourish and become a really big force in the coming season,” the Australian said.
“To win this race here today for Caspar, who’s been a supporter from day one, is very meaningful. It’s Caspar’s day today.” -HKJC, NZB