April 22, 2024

Phoenix Reach rises up in Vase

Last updated: 12/12/04 4:44 PM

Phoenix Reach and jockey Martin Dwyer after surprising in the Hong Kong Vase
(Courtesy of Hong Kong Jockey Club)

PHOENIX REACH (Ire) (Alhaarth) patiently sat in just behind the leaders
during Sunday’s Hong Kong Vase (HK-G1) before swinging out in the stretch and
holding off Sights on Gold (Indian Ridge) to take the about 1 1/2-mile affair by
a half-length. With jockey Martin Dwyer aboard, the bay four-year-old posted a
final time of 2:29 4/5 on the good to firm turf at Sha Tin Racecourse to begin
the Turf World Championships at the Hong Kong track.

“They went very slow so I wanted to be near the pace and at the three and a
half pole, I quickened and he was electric,” Dwyer said. “I was aware of Frankie
(Dettori on Sights on Gold) looming up on my outside and I can tell you that’s
not a nice sight but my lad just kept pulling out more. He had a strong
finishing burst.”

Phoenix Reach, trained by Andrew Balding, became known last year as a
three-year-old when taking the Gordon S. (Eng-G3) before finishing a nice third
in the St. Leger S. (Eng-G1) at Doncaster. He then traveled across the pond to
compete in the Canadian International S. (Can-G1) at Woodbine, scoring in that
12-furlong test by three parts of a length.

Phoenix Reach came in a good sixth in the Japan Cup (Jpn-G1), and, prior to
running in this event, broke his bridle. What significance does either of those
events have on this race?

“Before the Japan Cup I dreamt that he had broke the bridle and we had got
one of Aidan O’Brien’s to replace it and he won,” Balding said. “It didn’t
happen then, but I wasn’t too worried when I saw he broke his bridle before the
start here.”

Vallee Enchantee (Peintre Celebre) captured the Vase last year but could do
no better than third, two lengths back of Sights on Gold, this time around.
Completing the order of finish were Sweet Stream (Shantou), Super Kid (Gaius),
Polish Summer (GB) (Polish Precedent), Beethoven (Zabeel), Imperial Dancer
(Primo Dominie), Warrsan (Caerleon), Simonas (Ire) (Sternkoenig), Roosevelt
(Danehill) and Brian Boru (GB) (Sadler’s Wells).