Fabulous One’s (Elusive City x Beautiful Unicorn) international campaign appears to be over after he weakened into 10th in the Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint.
The Trelawney Stud graduate, who failed to handle the left-handed bends when ninth behind Comicas and Dundonnell in a 1200m dirt handicap on 11 February, switched back to the turf for this run, facing 15 opponents in the Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint, the new lead-up to the G1 Al Quoz Sprint (1200m).
The straight course presented problems of its own, though, as the noted front-runner raced keenly in the initial stages under Irishman Oisin Murphy. From gate five, the bay jumped fairly and was among the pacesetters early, even striking the front centre track approaching the 400m, but he was quickly swallowed up by Godolphin runners Jungle Cat and Baccarat, who raced away to a Charlie Appleby-trained quinella. Murphy eased Fabulous One over the concluding stages, finishing nine and a half lengths from Jungle Cat.
However, trainer Chris So was proud of his galloper after the effort, saying that he was glad the owners had afforded him the chance to travel his first horse abroad while all but ruling out any chance of pushing on to the Al Quoz Sprint.
“Actually, I’m quite happy with that run,” a philosophical So said. “He has performed today and I feel that we know where he is at. He jumped well, he got on the speed and he had his chance. I think it didn’t help that he hadn’t run over a straight 1200m before and that was the problem for him – he was too fierce, he couldn’t take a breath and he was looking for the bend. But I was still screaming too, from the angle it looked like he was a chance and that was an amazing feeling.
“I have no complaints for my first time travelling. I don’t think there’s any chance he will get an invite for the Al Quoz Sprint and even if he did, I think we would go back to Hong Kong anyway. But I’m happy that we got two runs out of him here, no matter how he performed. I think he is rated 108 in Hong Kong so there are some Group 3 handicaps that we can look at later in the season and maybe the chance will come to travel him elsewhere.
“I am so grateful to the owners for giving me the chance and for giving the horse a chance. They are a great group of people, some of them were here tonight, and they deserve all the success they get. Hopefully I can get some more for them.” -HKJC