Danny Shum bids for another first as history beckons on multiple fronts on FWD Champions Day

Daryl Timms

19/04/2022 09:30

Danny Shum celebrates BMW Hong Kong Derby victory.
Danny Shum celebrates BMW Hong Kong Derby victory.

Analysis of Danny Shum’s career reveals a remarkable penchant for creating history and, approaching the glittering FWD Champions Day meeting on 24 April at Sha Tin, the respected trainer is poised to strike again.

Famed by his feat of taking Little Bridge to Royal Ascot in 2012 and winning the G1 King’s Stand Stakes (1006m) under Zac Purton, Shum has this season produced Romantic Warrior as the first Hong Kong International Sale graduate to land the BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) for Karis Teetan.

The introverted Shum will again team with Teetan and Romantic Warrior in the HK$25 million G1 FWD QEII Cup (2000m) this month when the son of Acclamation will attempt to become the first graduate to claim the feature since Pakistan Star in 2018.

Additionally, the four-year-old will bid to join Werther (2016), Designs On Rome (2014), Ambitious Dragon (2011) and Vengeance Of Rain (2005) in completing the Hong Kong Derby and FWD QEII Cup double in the same year.

Romantic Warrior edges out California Spangle in the BMW Hong Kong Derby.
Romantic Warrior edges out California Spangle in the BMW Hong Kong Derby.

A protégé of the legendary Ivan Allan, a horseman internationally revered for his ability to extract peak performances from his string with devastating precision, Shum has previously saddled just two FWD QEII Cup entrants – Thumbs Up, who was third in 2009 to Presvis, and Playa Del Puente, who finished fourth to Exultant in 2020.

Tony Cruz is currently the most successful active trainer in FWD QEII Cup history, with three wins (2020 Exultant, 2018 Pakistan Star and 2015 Blazing Speed), while John Moore is the most successful of all time (five wins). Cruz’s representative this year is Ka Ying Star.

Shum’s hopes of a breakthrough victory in the HK$20 million G1 FWD Champions Mile (1600m) rest with talented More Than This in a contest where Golden Sixty looks to break Beauty Generation’s all-time Hong Kong prize money record.

With HK$102,000,600 already banked, Golden Sixty is poised to overtake Beauty Generation’s HK$106,233,750.

More Than This ran Golden Sixty to a head margin in last season’s FWD Champions Mile for Francis Lui and, on his day, remains a formidable force for Shum having finished second to Golden Sixty in the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile (1600m) last December.

Beauty Generation was the first horse to complete the Hong Kong Mile-Champions Mile double in consecutive seasons (2017/18 & 2018/19). Golden Sixty (2020/21), Good Ba Ba (2007/08), Able Friend (2014/15) and Maurice (2015/16) are the only other horses to have completed the double in a single season.

A giant of Hong Kong racing, Beauty Generation was a G1 colossus.
A giant of Hong Kong racing, Beauty Generation was a G1 colossus.

Golden Sixty will attempt to emulate Beauty Generation’s mighty double this year.

Underlining Beauty Generation’s prowess over eight furlongs, the New Zealand-bred joined Xtension (2011 & 2012), Able One (2007 & 2010) and Bullish Luck (2005 & 2006) among the four horses to have won the Champions Mile twice.

Beauty Generation, sent off at odds of 1.05 in 2019, is the shortest priced winner in the race’s history. He was also the sixth market favourite to have won this race.

Shum won’t have a runner in the HK$20 million G1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) and, as such, will have to wait another year before attempting to improve on Scintillation’s two placings (second in 2006 to Billet Express and third in 2008 to Sacred Kingdom).

Australian-bred runners have won the speed feature race 23 times since 1985, including the last six renewals since 2016 when, in memorable circumstances, Australian sprinter Chautauqua created history when he became the first overseas horse to win this race – after it had been opened to international competition.

Ivan Allan and John Moore are the most successful Chairman’s Sprint Prize trainers with six and four wins, respectively, followed by active trainers John Size and Ricky Yiu at three wins each.

Quicken Away, trained by Peter Ng, is the only horse to win the Chairman’s Sprint Prize in three successive years (1989-91), while last year’s winner Wellington is this season bidding to become the first horse to successfully defend the crown since Caspar Fownes-trained Lucky Nine in 2013-14. Silent Witness (2004-05), Mr Vitality (1995-96) and Mystic (1985-86).

As things stand, history will be written on several fronts on 24 April and, as usual, the quietly-spoken Shum is hoping to have his say – albeit with trademark reserve.

DARYL TIMMS

Daryl Timms is an Australian based journalist who has written on major sporting events for more than four decades. An award-winning journalist, he specialises on horse racing and has been a regular in recent years at Hong Kong's major race meetings.

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