Russian Emperor adds another Grade 1 to his tally

Russian Emperor confirmed his status as the kingpin of Hong Kong’s staying division with a domineering last-to-first win in this afternoon’s (Sunday, 22 May) HK$12 million G1 Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup (2400m) at Sha Tin.


Partnered with jockey Blake Shinn for trainer Douglas Whyte, Russian Emperor savoured his second Group 1 success with a performance deserving of recognition as Hong Kong Champion Stayer (2021/22) after previously blitzing the G1 Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup (2000m) and Golden Sixty in February.


Returning to Australia at the conclusion of this season, Shinn savoured his third Group 1 crown this term and a running treble on the card, while Whyte also sealed his third top-level win this campaign after Stronger’s G1 Centenary Sprint Cup (1200m) triumph.


“The big races in Hong Kong are so prestigious and well recognised around the world, so to be competing is one thing; to be winning them, is another. We're on the world stage now and to win such a prestigious race, I feel like I'm on top of the world right now,” Shinn said.


Without blinkers for the first time this season, the Galileo gelding was dropped out to settle clear last at the jump, like in the past, while Nordic Sky charged forward to lead.


Shinn made his move in the home turn, peeling out to pop the question and the five-year-old responded with a withering burst, hitting the front with 200m left to lead Ka Ying Star by a length and three quarters, while Senor Toba closed for third.


“To win two Group 1s on him now and to win the last Group 1 in Hong Kong (of the season) is real big buzz, I tell you,” Shinn said. “It's a team effort and it's a really big thrill to win today.”


“I must thank Douglas because after his last run at 2000 metres, he pulled quite hard and I thought going to 2400 metres, we're not going to win if he pulls.


“So, I suggested considering taking the blinkers off. Douglas stewed over it, he thinks about it very carefully and he said it was the right call and honestly the horse switched off the whole race and his turn of foot is electric when he switches off,” Shinn said.


The winning time of the race was 2m 26.67s (winner’s sectional time – 26.44, 25, 24.65, 24.02, 23.38, 23.18). 

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