Wellington won’t stretch out for a Group 1 assignment in the Hong Kong Classic Mile despite a commanding first-up win at Sha Tin on Saturday.

The All Too Hard sprinter will be kept to short-course racing even though he has the necessary ratings points to qualify for the Classic Mile on January 24.  “I would be surprised if he gets 1600m,” trainer Richard Gibson said after the Long Ke Hcp (1000m)..  “He’s such a good horse but it’s been frustrating and we’ve had to be patient.”

Champion jockey Zac Purton settled him just off the speed before hitting the front at the 400m pole.  They drew clear and won readily by more than two lengths from the in-form Ping Hai Bravo

Wellington (4g All Too Hard – Mihiri by More Than Ready) was unbeaten in his first three starts earlier this year, however, ailments have kept him on the sidelines since April.  “He hit the front a bit soon today and got a bit tired with the heavy weight (60kg),” Gibson continued.  “He hadn’t raced in a while and is going to be slimmer and trimmer next time out.”

“This horse has never really had an injury but was not 100% so we knew we had to take our time.”

The English expat was quick to credit mafoo Josephine Kwok Wing-ki for her help with Wellington.  “I want to dedicate this victory to “KK” because we don’t talk about the grooms enough,” he said.  “She’s looked after all my best horses since I’ve been in Hong Kong.”

Vinery champion All Too Hard sired him from Mihiri who won at Randwick for Team Hawkes prior to a Group 2 placing in the 2015 Breeders’ Classic at Rosehill.  He was bred by Kia Ora Stud, David Paradice and Vinery partner Steve McCann and sold for $70,000 at the 2018 Gold Coast Magic Millions.

Mihiri has a Star Turn 2yo colt named Turnstar with Team Hawkes and her yearling filly by Star Witness has been catalogued as Lot 145 for the Inglis Classic Sale on February 7.  She will be offered by Bhima Thoroughbreds as agent for Kia-Ora Stud.

All Too Hard also sired an Australian city double on Boxing Day with Impossible Action (Morphettville) and Dunbrody Power (Randwick).  The latter has an American Pharoah half-sister catalogued as Lot 779 by Kia-Ora Stud for the Gold Coast Magic Millions.

Vinery’s consignment includes Lot 430, an All Too Hard – Kachiko filly entered on behalf of McCann.  Her dam is a High Chaparral half-sister to Rock Kingdom (AJC Epsom Hcp Gr.1) and she foaled an All Too Hard filly in October.