As dominant as Hong Kong’s three Group 1 winners were on Champions Day, the most exciting news for international racing fans came when Shum declared that his stable star, Romantic Warrior, would head abroad.
Romantic Warrior had just won the QEII Cup by two lengths, after Lucky Sweynesse put three and a quarter on the Chairman’s Sprint Prize field and Golden Sixty won his third straight Champions Mile by one and a half.
It was a banner day for the Hong Kong Jockey Club but it was also expected against underwhelming opposition: Romantic Warrior started 1.6 against six rivals, Golden Sixty was 1.4 against seven and Lucky Sweynesse even shorter at 1.2 against seven other runners.
Then Shum revealed in his post-race press conference that he planned to take Romantic Warrior to the Tenno Sho (Autumn).
“We plan to run in the [Champions & Chater Cup], and then the season will end,” Shum said. “Then we’ll have a good look at Japan and which run I should start him in his first start. Probably October, I’ll send him to Japan to take his first start.”
Shum pointed to owner Peter Lau’s links to Japan through his Hong Kong homeware chain store, Japan Home Centre, and desire to race a horse there.
They have chosen a hell of a race: the Tenno Sho is likely to include last year’s winner Equinox, now the highest rated racehorse in the world.