Hong Kong is not a jurisdiction renowned for its dirt
horses, but its representatives have performed well in dirt races in Dubai in
Trelawney Stud graduate Fabulous One (Elusive City x Beautiful Unicorn) will be out to mark himself as a candidate for the Gr.1 Dubai Golden Shaheen on Wednesday night (18 January) at the all-dirt meeting at Sha Tin when lining up in the Class
1 Penfold Park Handicap (1200m).
This year, Hong Kong has seven entrants for three dirt races
on Dubai World Cup night on 25 March, and like David Hall-trained Master
Kochanwong last year, Chris So’s Fabulous One will be hoping to use Wednesday night’s Class 1 feature as a
stepping stone to a shot at desert riches.
Fabulous One was last season’s Most Improved Horse, taking
his domestic rating from a low of 46 to a high of 107 with five wins and one
second from eight runs. The five-year-old has not raced since a Happy Valley
Class 2 success in June and has had only one trial to prepare him for his dirt
debut on Wednesday night, but So is
excited about what may lie in store should he live up to his potential on the
“Honestly, the horse is maybe 70 or 80 per cent,” the
handler said at Sha Tin trackwork on Tuesday morning.
“I was happy
with the trial though and that is what we have planned all along, to target
this race and if he ran well, we’d send him to Dubai. He’s always trialled so
well on dirt and he is by Elusive City, so he’s bred for it. I always thought
his best would come on the all-weather track.”
Fabulous One picked up a small injury in August that ruled
him out of an early-season target, but the decision to ease up and prepare him
for dirt races later in the term was a straightforward one for So.
“It was just a joint problem, nothing serious,” he said.
“But at the time that it occurred, we didn’t have much planned for him – just
the first day of the season, the Class 1 (the HKSAR Chief Executive’s Cup
Handicap), but we weren’t planning on running him in the international races in
"So we decided to give him a break, send him to a paddock at Beas
River for a little bit, and aim for this race and hopefully Dubai. I was hoping
to give him two trials but it has not been enough time for two, so hopefully
one is enough.”
“We’ve entered him for a lead-up race on February 11, just a
handicap. Then the second run would be the 4th of March, Super
Saturday (the G3 Mahab Al Shimaal over 1200m) if it all goes well, and then the
25th of March.”
While he is waiting to see how Fabulous One returns, So has
already started making plans and has consulted his old boss Fownes about his
possible Dubai visitors too.
“If he runs well, we’d fly at the end of this month,” So
said. “The quarantine is only a couple of days so we’d look to give him at
least a week to settle in, but we don’t want to send him too early. Let’s see,
because I’d try to go with the other company. Maybe my old boss, Caspar, he may
have a couple going over at the same time. I hope Fabulous One can run well
tomorrow and let’s see how he finishes.”
Fabulous One was sold from Trelawney's 2013 NZB Select draft for $28,000. -HKJC