Hong Kong: Invincible Sage brings winning streak into Bauhinia Sprint Trophy

January 5th, 2024

Edited press release from Hong Kong Jockey Club

David Hall is cautiously optimistic Invincible Sage can extend a meteoric rise when the emerging speedster contests the HK$4.2 million Bauhinia Sprint Trophy H. (G3) (1000 meters) at Sha Tin on Sunday (beginning late Saturday night stateside).

Unbeaten in three starts this season over the course and distance, Invincible Sage (115 pounds) faces nine rivals under Alexis Badel as the gelding rises from Class 2 company to take on seasoned opposition in the most serious test of his career.

Victor The Winner (135 pounds) heads the weights from Super Wealthy (129 pounds), Duke Wai (128 pounds), Packing Treadmill (116 pounds), Kurpany (115 pounds), Seasons Wit (115 pounds), Flying Ace (115 pounds), Invincible Sage, Whizz Kid (115 pounds), and We Are Hero (115 pounds).

Hall has plotted a conservative path with Invincible Sage since the gelding arrived in Hong Kong in January last year after winning three times in Australia as Thron Bone and believes the four-year-old’s form warrants a tilt at Group company.

“He’s had three (wins) for three (starts) this season and he’s becoming a bit of a straight track specialist,” Hall said, “and each of his wins have had different sort of merit in it. He’s had to overcome an awkward spot (first-up), the pace wasn’t as we thought it would be the next time, and he’s carried the big weight (135 pounds) and then the light weight (120 pounds) and up in grade, but he kept answering the call.

“He’s got another big step to take now, but it’s the perfect race for him in that he carries the light weight and it’s his favorite track and trip, where his stats look exceptional – I’m looking forward to seeing how much of a step he can take.”

Invincible Sage has risen 20 points in the ratings after his trio of 1000-meter wins, winning twice under Hugh Bowman and last start for Zac Purton. With Bowman unable to ride at 115 pounds and Purton on a short leave of absence, Badel takes the plate for the first time.

Hall is also represented by Flying Ace, a four-time Sha Tin 1200-meter winner who makes his debut over the 1000-meter straight course on Sunday under Matthew Poon.

“He’s another who’s had winning performances without winning so he does deserve a win,” Hall said of the gelding who has slotted three seconds and a third from four starts this season.

“It’s a bit of a different game for him, the straight 1000 as against getting out the back in 1200-meter races, but that’s probably been because of the barriers he’s been drawing.

“His performances are there for everyone to see – they’ve been quite eye-catching, and he also deserves his place in the field. It’s going to be an interesting race for him. His form is good, he’s trialed well since, and I expect him, with a good speed on down the straight 1000, to be very strong late again.”

Victor The Winner reappears after a last-start fourth behind Lucky Sweynesse in the Hong Kong Sprint (G1) (1200 meters) on Dec. 10 and reunites with Bowman for the first time this season.

“He’s doing well. Everything is OK,” trainer Danny Shum said. “The only thing is the weight, that’s the worry, but he’s got a good jockey and hopefully he can run well.”

Shum has previously won the feature with Scintillation (2007) and Little Bridge (2012).

Sunday’s 10-race card at Sha Tin starts with the Class 5 Wan Tsui H. (1200 meters on dirt) at midnight (ET).