They combined to win last month’s Hong Kong Derby with Sky Darci but while jockey Joao Moreira has returned to the winner’s circle 11 times since, it’s been a starkly different story for trainer Caspar Fownes.
Fownes has endured 20 placings from 55 starters without a winner during what he describes as “an unfortunate series of events”, a luckless run Moreira is confident he can put an end to at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
“Capital Star is the one, he’s got a good gate with the blinkers on coming back from a spell – he’s the one that I like the most,” Moreira said.
The Brazilian partners the Fownes-trained four-year-old in the first section of the Class Three Queen’s Road Central Handicap (1,200m), with Capital Star chasing a second victory at start four in Hong Kong after winning three times as Classy Jaybee in South Australia pre-import.
“Hopefully Cas can return to form, he is a legend and he deserves to keep winning races. I hope I can put him back on the winner’s list,” Moreira said.
Despite his less-than-ideal run, Fownes sits only three victories behind premiership-leading trainer John Size with 24 meetings remaining in the term.
“I’ll have my run again, I’m confident of that and we’ll see what happens. The great thing about racing is that it keeps you coming back and you know next week could be totally different,” Fownes said.
While Fownes admitted it’s been an emotional roller coaster having to sit through so many placings – his frustration was evident at Sha Tin on Saturday when Double Take and Sky Show ran second by narrow margins – he’s more than happy with where his stable is placed.
“I’ve had a lot of close seconds and thirds but that’s life and I’m soldiering on. The horses are presenting very well week-in, week-out so it’ll turn – it has to,” said Fownes, who sits on 54 winners this campaign – already five more than 2019-20.
“When the horses are racing well you never worry. It’s when you’re expecting them to run well and they run s***, that’s when you’re in trouble. Mine are not doing that, they have raced well all season.”
Fownes also saddles up Land Power, Pure Legend, Telecom Puma and Allez: “There are a couple that will run well again, I just have to hope they can put their head out and get the result.”
Arrogant is one of Fownes’ last-start placegetters – running third over 2,000m at Sha Tin on Derby day – and the galloper is looking to finally break his Hong Kong duck at start 13 in the Class Three Pottinger Handicap (2,200m).
The son of Ocean Park, who ran second to The Autumn Sun in the Group One Rosehill Guineas (2,000m) in 2019, ran on solidly for third at the course and distance in February and will jump from barrier one, with Moreira climbing aboard for the first time.