March 4, 2024

Rakti showed the calm before the storm on Friday

Last updated: 12/10/04 6:10 PM


The talented but temperamental RAKTI (Polish Precedent), the subject of some
concern earlier this week due to persistent reefing and pulling on the training
track, was a far more composed character Friday morning.

“He’s much more relaxed today, thankfully,” trainer Michael Jarvis said.
“He’s like that. He can be a completely different horse from one day to the
next.”

Jarvis confined the five-year-old to the trotting ring on Thursday, a move
that obviously paid off as Rakti gently lobbed around the all-weather track under his
regular exercise rider, Bob McGonagle. The bay horse is preparing for Sunday’s
Hong Kong Cup (HK-G1) at Sha Tin.

Rakti, second in last year’s Hong Kong Cup, already owns two Group1 wins this
season, taking the Prince of Wales’s S. (Eng-G1) and Queen Elizabeth II S.
(Eng-G1). Jarvis is just hoping his charge doesn’t boil over before the expected
crowd of 70,000 on Sunday.

“He handled it well last year so we have reason enough to be confident that
he can do it again,” he said.

Trainer David Hayes was upbeat about the prospects of his two Cup runners —
ELEGANT FASHION (Danewin) and AIN’T HERE (Dehere) — and is not conceding to likely
favorite Rakti.

“Well he had a good day last year and he only just beat Elegant Fashion, who
made her run too soon, so I’m confident we’re competitive with him,” Hayes said
when asked whether his chances were greater if Rakti had a bad day.

Hayes feels many people, especially his fellow Australians, are inclined to
underrate Elegant Fashion.

“I firmly believe she should have been placed in the Cox Plate (Aus-G1),
where she had no luck,” Hayes said. “She then backed up a week a later in the
Mackinnon (S. [Aus-G1]) and ran the fastest late sectionals, but she had just
settled too far back in that leader-dominated race. I thought she was going
really well and she franked that opinion when she came home and ran a terrific
race, joining in late in the International Mile Trial (HK-G2).

Also representing Hayes is the much-improved Ain’t Here, who scored in the
Sha Tin Trophy (HK-G3) at Sha Tin in October.

“There’s plenty to like about a horse that — on the bridle, almost ran a
course record (2:01) last start,” Hayes said. “He ran the second fast 2000
meters ever run at Sha Tin and some pretty good horses have competed over that
trip here.”

Jockey Danny Nikolic is scheduled to be aboard FIELDS OF OMAGH (Rubiton) for the Cup
and partnered the seven-year-old on the track Friday morning. It was the first
time this week the pair had worked out together and the rider was delighted with
the outcome. Nikolic also worked Fields Of Omagh before his October second in
the Cox Plate and reported that the gelding feels “even better” now.

“If anything he’s a touch sharper than he was then,” Nikolic said.

Top Japanese three-year-old filly DANCE IN THE MOOD (Sunday Silence)
familiarized herself with the turf track and new covered parade ring. The dark
bay sophomore is no stranger to traveling, shipping to the United States earlier
this year to finish a close second in the American Invitational Oaks (G1) at
Hollywood Park.

“She is a smart filly, very switched on,” exercise rider Naruhito Kasai said.
“Everything is on order for Sunday.”