The Hulk on Derby route
Trainer Caspar Fownes hopes a win on Thursday can get his charge closer to the 4YO Classic Series
Trainer Caspar Fownes has BMW Hong Kong Derby ambitions for The Hulk, who will attempt to prove his Classic Series credentials with a muscle-flexing display in the Class 2 Chai Wan Kok Handicap over 1,650m in Race 8 at Happy Valley on Thursday.
"He's here to get into the Four-Year-Old Classic Series, to go towards the Derby, so we need him to win a race to get towards the 90 mark. That should give him a chance to get in one or two of those races," said the trainer.
The three-race series kicks off with the Hong Kong Classic Mile over 1,600m onJan 27.
The Hulk has had four runs to find his feet since arriving in Hong Kong off the back of a 1,400m Group 3 win in New Zealand.
His latest effort brought a short-head second over 1,800m at the Valley on Longines International Jockeys' Challenge night. The form of that race worked out on Saturday, when the winner, Glorious Dragon, followed up with an impressive 2,000m win at Sha Tin.
"The Hulk ran very well last start, so hopefully he can go one better. We're hoping he can win for us, the owner (Eddie Yau) is a mate and a great supporter for the yard," said Fownes.
The trainer sees the Classic Series picture as being hazy one month out from the first test. Last season's Champion Griffin, Champion's Way, has failed to fire in two runs so far and the big-name imports have yet to step out and make a big statement.
"I think, at this stage, it looks like there are only a couple of serious prospects," said Fownes.
"Obviously, the new ones coming in haven't hit their straps yet, so we'll have to see what they do in the next six to eight weeks. So there's a lot of horses that could come up and really make their presence felt.
"At this stage, the Classic Mile looks like it is Golden Sixty's, and Francis Lui's other horse, More Than This, looks outstanding, so I'd like to be training him for the Derby." - HKJC