Voyage Bubble on the mend after knee surgery

Hong Kong’s star four-year-old returned to the exercise pool at the weekend, while his Derby rival Super Sunny Sing is taking a long break in Guangdong.

Voyage Bubble upsets them in the 2023 Hong Kong Derby. (Photo by HKJC)

David Morgan

Chief Journalist


Hong Kong Derby winner Voyage Bubble is back swimming after ‘minor’ knee surgery as he rehabilitates towards an expected return date early next season.

The Ricky Yiu-trained gelding won the first and last legs of the Four-Year-Old Classic Series earlier this year, having nicked the Hong Kong Classic Mile under Jamie Kah before bagging the Derby at odds of 45-1 under Alexis Badel. Voyage Bubble afterwards placed fourth in the G1 Champions Mile on April 30 but has not been seen on the training track since.    

“He had a little chip, so he had surgery,” Yiu told Asian Racing Report. “It was only minor stuff and he’s recovering really well. He’s so fresh, and he’s been in the walking machine and everything is nearly back to normal.

“He had a tough season and he’s still young, just a lightly-raced four-year-old, so we wanted to give him a break and at the same time we found that he had a little chip in the near-fore knee, so we wanted to get that out to prevent the arthritis later.”


Voyage Bubble, an Australian-bred son of the retired stallion Deep Field, is not the only 2023 Hong Kong Derby contender to have been sidelined in the months since the 2000-metre feature at Sha Tin in March. Derby fourth Keefy placed last in two starts thereafter and has not been out on the track since his race on May 13 when vets noted a heart irregularity.

Meanwhile, the Hong Kong Derby second-favourite Super Sunny Sing has been enjoying an easy time of things since he finished eighth of 14 in the blue riband. Chris So’s charge is currently at the Conghua training facility taking things at a leisurely pace.

“He’s doing well, he’s just relaxing, having a full holiday: no trackwork,” So revealed. “After the Derby, I sent him to Conghua for a break; that was the plan going into that race because he had eight starts for four wins already in the season, so we wanted to give him a good rest.

“He’s a quiet horse, and, in the morning, he has 20 minutes on the walking machine and then we send him to the paddock for the whole afternoon. We are giving him time to rest with a view to next season when we think he will be able to run in the top class in Hong Kong.”

Hong Kong Classic Cup winner Super Sunny Sing. (Photo by HKJC)

So plans to have Super Sunny Sing ready for the Group race handicaps at Sha Tin in late September and October.

“That would be the plan, the Group 3 race to start, and then we will aim towards the big races in December, that’s the plan so we’ll see how it goes,” he said. “I think the mile seems like his best distance; I can’t say he won’t go further but for now we’re looking at the mile.”

Yiu also has those Group race handicaps as the planned starting point for Voyage Bubble next season, but for now the 2020 Hong Kong champion trainer is focused on finishing as high as possible in the trainers’ premiership, which will wrap up at the season finale on July 16. He is fourth on countback, with his 51 wins being the equal of Francis Lui who currently holds the third spot.

“I’d like to finish in the first three – first five, no problem,” Yiu added. “We still have quite a few up-and-coming youngsters in the stable, so I’m optimistic that they will keep doing well to the end of the season and hopefully we can finish in the first three.”




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