Panfield will attempt to reclaim his title in Sunday`s (28 May) HK$12 million G1 Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup (2400m) at Sha Tin.
Chasing a second win in the season`s final Group 1 race, Panfield failed to defend his crown in last year`s edition, however, gets his chance to recoup the mantle as he returns to set weight conditions and a probable rain-free surface for jockey Karis Teetan and trainer Tony Millard.
Teetan partnered the Chilean-bred six-year-old when finishing eighth behind Straight Arron in the G3 Queen Mother Memorial Cup Handicap (2400m) on soft ground earlier this month under 131lb.
“The light weight horses just got the better of me. He gave me a kick although he just sort of stayed on, but he`s in good shape and he`s ready to go,” Teetan said.
The Mauritian also rode the 112-rater in a grass gallop last Thursday (18 May) at Sha Tin as he aims to enhance Panfield`s all-time earnings of HK$19.579 million in Hong Kong.
“He felt good, it was a nice strong gallop for him. I think he`s had a good preparation for this race. We just need him to bring what he`s showing us in the mornings to the races, the horse is in good health,” Teetan said.
Romantic Warrior, Russian Emperor, Straight Arron, Money Catcher, Natural Storm, Five G Patch, Senor Toba and Columbus County also hold entries in Sunday`s feature.
“The big boys are there, Romantic Warrior, but it`s the first time that he will be going over the trip. It`s going to be a competitive field,” Teetan said. “He`s (Panfield) in good health and with a good track on the weekend, I think he should be able to perform at his best again.”
Crowned Hong Kong Champion Stayer in 2020/21 for Millard, Panfield has been entered to run in the G1 Takarazuka Kinen (2200m) at Hanshin in Japan on Sunday, 25 June.
Money Catcher takes his place this weekend following a solid campaign, one that comprises two Group 3 wins and a pair of Group 1 placings for trainer Frankie Lor.
Derek Leung finished third aboard Money Catcher in last season`s Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800m) and BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m). He reunites with the 118-rater this weekend for the first time this term.
“He`s pretty straightforward, he can either lead or sit second – he`s fine. The distance, he can handle it. Let`s see the pace and how he draws,” Leung said.
Although yet to win atop Money Catcher, Leung knows the horse well with five top-three finishes aboard the five-year-old New Zealand-bred last season.
“He`s done very well this season. He ran well against Romantic Warrior and California Spangle in the Derby and this season he`s won a few Group races,” Leung said.