Helios Express steamrolls to HK Classic Cup success, Latest Racing News - The New Paper

Helios Express steamrolls to HK Classic Cup success

HONG KONG - Trainer John Size’s emerging star Helios Express will be given the chance to match the colossal deeds of Golden Sixty and Rapper Dragon by chasing a Four-Year-Old Classic Series clean sweep and HK$26 million (S$4.5 million) BMW Hong Kong Derby (2,000m) success.

It came with his narrow HK$13 million Hong Kong Classic Cup (1,800m) victory at Sha Tin on March 3.

Winner of the HK$13 million Hong Kong Classic Mile (1,600m) in February, Helios Express gave Size a fifth Hong Kong Classic Cup victory.

He had won it with Unique Jewellery (2009), It Has To Be You (2013), Thunder Fantasy (2015) and Sun Jewellery (2016).

The high-class galloper was forced to dig deep under Hugh Bowman before catching Chancheng Glory (Keagan de Melo) in the last stride.

He surged into the clear late, eventually winning by a short head.

Stablemate Ensued (Ryan Moore) finished third, 2¾ lengths further back.

Inconvenienced when the tempo came out of the race between the 800m and 400m, with a 24.40sec split, Helios Express needed luck in gaining a run.

But he still clocked the fastest final sectional of 22.93sec to grab Chancheng Glory in an overall time of 1min 47.73sec.

Helios Express, who left Australia as a Benalla maiden winner, has now won six of his eight Hong Kong starts. He has earned HK$23.07 million in prize money.

Size said it seemed like Helios Express was pretty strong at the finish in a slowly run race.

He was lucky to get out, get the breaks and get the leader.

“It could have been prettier than that, but he got the job done, so that’s the main thing,” he added.

“I’m not sure how confident he (Bowman) was that he was going to win, but it was a difficult assignment for any rider, and he certainly made a good fist of it.”

Addressing the BMW Hong Kong Derby on March 24, Size said: “The degree of difficulty just gets greater as these races continue for each of the horses.

“His health has been good and his work’s been good so, at the moment, we’re hoping he’s got another one in him.”

Notching a treble with success on Sun Of Makfi for David Hall and Blue Marlin for Douglas Whyte, Bowman hopes Helios Express can match the deeds of Golden Sixty (2020) and Rapper Dragon (2017) by snaring all three legs of the Four-Year-Old Classic Series.

“He settled really well but then, when the pace started to change, it got really muddling around the corner, he didn’t cope with that very well,” Bowman said.

“It’s hard to be too critical of him for that reason, either. With a smooth run race (in the Derby), he’ll be okay.

“He needs an even tempo, he doesn’t particularly need it fast. Like all horses, he’s going to benefit from an even pace. It’s not only him – it’s the entire field.

“Look, it (Classic Cup) probably doesn’t define the Derby picture. It wasn’t run genuinely enough, so two good horses fought the finish out and I’m very proud of my horse because he had to dig deep and most horses wouldn’t have done that.

“There were a few anxious moments at the 700m, when I couldn’t hold him, but I was given no option but to ride him as I rode him, given the way the race panned out.” HKJC