Navas Two to press Hong Kong Classic Cup claims
Ruan Maia is confident Navas Two can continue a startling rise and make a strong case ahead of the HK$12 million Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800m) later this month with another convincing performance in the Class 2 Rose Handicap (1600m) at Sha Tin on Saturday (12 February).
Chasing a fourth successive victory, Navas Two has risen from a mark of 63 to 82 with a hat-trick of Class 3 1400m wins, fuelling Richard Gibson and Maia’s confidence ahead of the Hong Kong Classic Cup – the second leg of the Four-Year-Old Classic Series – at Sha Tin on 27 February.
Gibson chose to bypass the Hong Kong Classic Mile claimed by the unbeaten Hong Kong International Sale Graduate Romantic Warrior on 30 January to instead use tomorrow’s race as a launching pad into the midpoint of the lucrative series.
“The plan is to run him in the mile before he goes to the Hong Kong Classic Cup race because if you sometimes go straight from 1400m to 1800m, it is not so good. So, the plan is to run him in the mile so we can see after this race,” Maia said.
“This time, he’s up in class but I believe he’s still in great form. The barrier (gate 12) is not too good but I think the mile can help him to get to a good position. He’s just more relaxed now and he’s improved a lot.
“A few times I did a gallop on him and he felt very comfortable, he was feeling good and stronger. I like him a lot. I will try to jump positive and try to cross to two-wide with cover, midfield in fifth, sixth position and wait for the straight because he has a very strong finish.”
Navas Two has been a revelation this season for Gibson, having joined the Englishman’s stable from Australia as two-time winner Tadashi Hamada. The son of Excelebration also holds an entry for the HK$24 million BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) on 20 March.
Success for Navas Two on Saturday would deliver a High Achievement Bonus of HK$1 million for winning a Class 2 race when rated 80 or higher before turning five years of age.