Gunnison Set for Hong Kong Debut | TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video

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Tuesday, February 27, 2018 at 1:23 pm |
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Updated: February 27, 2018 at 10:25 pm

Gunnison pictured here trialling at Happy Valley | HKJC photo

By Alan Carasso

Gunnison (Aus) (Not a Single Doubt {Aus}), who topped last year’s inaugural Inglis Chairman’s Sale of Elite Racing Prospects on a bid of A$1.4 million (click for Kelsey Riley’s sales coverage), is entered for his Hong Kong debut in a Class 2 handicap going 1200 metres on dirt Wednesday evening at Sha Tin Racecourse.

Originally purchased by bloodstock agent James Harron for A$850,000 at the 2016 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale, the chestnut was gelded and turned over to trainers Peter and Paul Snowden, for whom he won a Canberra maiden on debut and the G2 Todman S. a fortnight later. He was consigned to the Chaiman’s Sale with an entry for the G1 Sires’ Produce S., but was subsequently withdrawn from that race, ultimately won by Invader (Aus) (Snitzel {Aus}), who finished a nose behind Gunnison in the Todman.

Gunnison is trained by John Size, who explained his rationale for starting out on the dirt to the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Edward Sadler.

“I think he’s a horse that would appreciate getting his foot in the ground a little bit,” the trainer said. “I think the harder tracks are not something that he’d relish just yet, although next season as a 4-year-old he might handle them a little bit better, but from what we saw of him on a wet track in Australia, I think the dirt might help him out a little bit.”

For his part, Gunnison has appeared to handle the underfoot conditions nicely, including a front-running score in a 1050m barrier trial Feb. 13 (video), but Size is taking his typically low-key approach to this first local run.

“His preparation has been OK, there have not been many complications with the horse–he has good speed and he does everything correctly,” the Australian said. “He knows his job. He’s a little bit young though and he’s not as strong as some of his competitors, but he’s been here for a while and I’ve given him plenty of time, so he may as well go to the races and we can find out where he is.

He added, “It’s very tough for a 3-year-old to start in Class 2, but it’s been well-explained to the connections. That’s why I’ve taken my time with him. [Young horses] do find it quite difficult, but that’s where we are and we have to start somewhere.”

Post time for the evening’s seventh race (HKJC form) is 10.20pm local time (1.20am Thursday AEST/2.20pm BST/9.20am US Eastern time). Gunnison, who carries 119 pounds off a debut rating of 86, is drawn eight with Mauritian Karis Teetan at the controls.

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