Michael Walker has a big opinion of three-year-old Hong Kong Captain and the jockey expects the gelding to reach greater heights than his victory in the lucrative Vobis Gold Star at Moonee Valley.
Walker said he had liked Hong Kong Captain since he first rode the son of Host, and the in-form rider maintained an unbeaten record on the galloper when they chased down favourite Profit Share in Saturday’s $150,000 race over 1500m.
“I think he’s a very, very talented horse and whatever he does this preparation is only a bonus for next time,” Walker said.
“He’s still a preparation away. Physically he’s got it, but mentally he’s still very weak.”
Hong Kong Captain made it two wins from three starts, bouncing back from a last-start third at Sandown when Damien Oliver was aboard.
He is now set to tackle the Group Three CS Hayes Stakes at Flemington next month, a race close to the heart of the gelding’s co-trainers David Hayes and his nephew Tom Dabernig.
The late Colin Hayes is David Hayes’ father and the grandfather of Dabernig.
Hong Kong Captain settled back in the field before Walker urged him to start improving between runners to be in a position to strike on the home turn.
Profit Share ($2.80) endured a tough run with the gelding over-racing under Brad Rawiller who sent him around the field to sit outside the lead before striding a couple of lengths clear before the home turn.
Walker said he had confidence Hong Kong Captain ($7.50) could chase him down and he overhauled Profit Share late to win by half a length with Turnitaround ($5.50) 1-1/4 lengths away third.
Dabernig believes Hong Kong Captain can stretch to 2000m but the plan is to freshen him up for his next start.
“A race we’d really like to have a runner in is the CS Hayes Stakes. It would mean bringing him back to 1400-metres but we’ve got a bit of time between runs so that’s a nice option for him on the 21st of February,” Dabernig said.