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Werther’s pre-race behaviour a tell-tale sign

7 December 2017, 1:56 p.m.

Keep a close watch on Werther in the parade ring before Sunday’s Gr.1 Longines Hong Kong Cup (2000m) and it might provide a clue as to the New Zealand-bred’s chances at Sha Tin.

The Tavistock gelding’s former trainer Andrew Campbell, who prepared the stayer for a syndicate that included co-breeder Tommy Heptinstall, said the horse’s pre-race demeanour could be an indicator of what’s to come.

Werther Photo: Hong Kong Jockey Club

“When he won the Hong Kong Derby the lady doing the commentary from the birdcage said she didn’t like him – he was trying to kick out at the strapper so as soon as she said that I rang Tommy and said whatever you’ve got on, double it.

“When the horse is like that he’s right. He’s a loner and likes to be left alone.”

Campbell prepared Werther to win four races and two Group One placings before his sale, but he couldn’t forecast the subsequent heights the six-year-old has reached from John Moore’s Hong Kong stable.

Werther’s CV also includes wins in the Gr.1 Audemars Piguet QEII Cup (2000m), the Gr.1 Hong Kong Gold Cup (2000m), the Champions & Chaters Cup (2400m) and last time out the Gr.2 Jockey Club Cup (2000m).

“It’s a bit of a surprise, I didn’t think he was a world beater,” he said. “I knew he was a really smart horse, but all the breed gets so much better with time – just like his brother Gobstopper.”

The younger sibling has come to his best form as a five-year-old this season and is back in work after a break following his bold front-running victory in the Gr.3 New Zealand Cup (3200m).

“He’ll have a quiet trial at Te Awamutu on December 18 and then run in the Rich Hill Mile,” Campbell said.

“We’ll look at the Herbie Dyke Stakes after that and into the Auckland Cup.” – NZ Racing Desk.