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Ato the latest casualty for Hong Kong
Craig Brennan
29/11/2012

Singapore is down to just one runner in the Group 1 (approx) $2.4 million Longines Hong Kong Sprint over 1200m at Sha Tin on December 9.
 
After initially having three sprinters invited for the race, two have fallen by the wayside in the past week.
 
Following Mr Big’s withdrawal on Monday, the Patrick Shaw-trained Ato is the latest to fall by the wayside.


Ato accounts for Mr Big in the Group 1 KrisFlyer International Sprint in May.

Singapore will be represented by the Michael Freedman-trained Super Easy in the Group 1 sprint with champion jockey Joao Moreira in the saddle.
 
The winner of the Group 1 KrisFlyer International Sprint over 1200m in May, Ato was withdrawn during the week with a strain to the off-fore joint.
 
Just as Freedman had said earlier in the week following the scratching of Mr Big, Shaw echoed his thoughts saying the injury woes with Ato came about at the wrong time.
 
“It’s probably more of a sprain really,” said Shaw. “It’s a strain to the joint capsule of the off-foreleg.
 
“The x-rays and scans are all clear but we’ve been treating him with an anti-inflammatory and also icing the joint.
 
“It should be right in two or three weeks time to start work on him again. It’s just unfortunate that it has happened at the wrong time.
 
“It would have been his first time travelling and going right handed for the first time as well. You need everything in your favour when going to a new place and I couldn’t take the risk with him with that injury.
 
“I was really looking forward to going this year as he would have been the underdog and there wouldn’t have been the same pressure on the horse, trainer or jockey.”
 
Shaw had in the two previous years represented Singapore in the Hong Kong Sprint with champion sprinter Rocket Man.
 
After just being touched out in 2010 by J J The Jet Plane, Rocket Man finished 12th of the 14 runners behind Lucky Nine in last year’s edition after being trapped wide in the run.
 
With Hong Kong now off the agenda for Ato, Shaw said he would now switch his attention to the Dubai World Cup meeting in March with the entire.
 
Shaw said Rocket Man would be returning for another crack at the Group 1 (approx) $2.5 million Dubai Golden Shaheen over 1200m on the Tapeta track on March 30 but said there were a number of options available for Ato.
 
He said possibilities included the Group 1 (approx) $1.25 million Al Quoz Sprint over 1000m or the Group 2 (approx) $1.25 million Godolphin Mile over 1600m. He has also not ruled out an attempt at the Golden Shaeen.
 
“There are a few options over there that could be suitable,” said Shaw.
 
“The Godolphin Mile hasn’t always been a strong race and he is a winner at the mile before while if they went like the clappers over the 1000m in the Al Qouz Sprint he could get over the top of them.
 
“Still those races are still a way off yet and we’ll just have to see how he’s going and make up our minds from there.”