Fownes enlists his biggest guns as he launches all-out assault on trainers’ title

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Caspar Fownes will roll out his four biggest guns as part of an all-out assault on Sunday’s Sha Tin meeting and the trainers’ premiership.

Proceedings are delicately poised with Fownes leading John Size 69 winners to 67 with eight meetings remaining, however the former saddles up a dozen runners this weekend compared to his adversary’s six.

Fownes unleashes a double-pronged attack on each of the day’s Group Threes – Southern Legend (Zac Purton) and Columbus County (Joao Moreira) in the Premier Plate (1,800m) and Sky Darci (Moreira) and Sky Field (Blake Shinn) in the Premier Cup (1,400m).

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The quartet make up four of the 53-year-old’s five highest-rated horses – Aethero sits second but has never raced under his care – and top dog Southern Legend is ready to do his bit for the cause despite approaching nine years of age.

“Southern Legend is a beast, he’s well and he just wants to go and race. He’s in great form. He’s carrying 133 [pounds] but he’s a bloody brute, he’s so tough and tenacious and I think he’ll still give it a shake,” said Fownes.

“Columbus County is coming back 600m but I’ve kept him as fresh as I can and he’s got a good record over 1,800m at Sha Tin. He’s very consistent and there’s no reason he can’t take it up to them.”

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Sky Darci enters the Premier Cup in superb form after returning from a two-month lay-off following his Derby victory to salute in the Group Three Lion Rock Trophy (1,600m) and Fownes expects him to keep answering the challenge.

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“I think he’s going to run very well in this race even though he’s coming back in trip. He’s very honest and he does not know how to run a bad race,” he said.

After a pair of impressive thirds at Group level – including an eye-catching showing in the Group One Chairman’s Sprint Prize – Sky Field steps out over 1,400m for the second time in his career.

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“It was nice to see him with Blake the other day in the [Group Three Sha Tin Vase], he was good and he was very tractable,” Fownes said.

“He didn’t pull too hard and he had him under control and just where we wanted him. Obviously now we’re going to the 1,400m, if he can behave that way he’s going to give it a big run because he’s always got a big sectional in him.”

Fownes also unleashes the Classic Mile-bound Killer Bee, with the three-year-old looking to make it four wins from five starts under Moreira in the Class Three Amber Handicap (1,200m).

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The son of Savabeel moved to a rating of 79 with a barnstorming last-start win that saw him peel off a 21.73-second final 400m despite being wide throughout.

“Crazy win, I wasn’t too happy in the first part of the race but the last part certainly showed us what type of horse he’s going to be,” Fownes said.

“Same thing again, he’s drawn out in gate seven – lucky we’re on the A course – and I’d just like to ride him a little bit conservatively and just have him taught a bit better, just to be midfield with cover and see what we’ve got.

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“He was ready to go a couple of weeks earlier but I just looked at the programme and said we’d go for this and see what happens, maybe run him one more time after this if he does his job on Sunday.”

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