Wah May Star has class on his side
Wah May Star has been a well-anticipated find this season, with connections doubtless hoping he will be in line for even bigger prizes next term, and the rising star can claim the Hong Kong Reunification Cup (1,400m) today at Sha Tin.
From a highly achieved family but a touch backward, Wah May Star (Douglas Whyte) was an astute piece of buying as a young horse in New Zealand as his smaller stature probably accounted for a bargain buy sale price.
The two previous foals from his dam, Skates, had gone for AU$800,000 (HK$6.3 million) and AU$1.7 million as yearlings and Wah May Star was sold for just a small fraction of that. He then looked a horse of some promise as a two-year-old last term, winning his second griffin race but it was clear that time would see him emerge as a very decent galloper.
He has steadily continued to grow and strengthen up through this term, winning four races along the way to take his rating to 98 and trainer Me Tsui Yu-sak can already rest assured that Wah May Star has booked his place in the four-year-old classics, in terms of making the field. The trainer's job will be to get him to those races fit and well and ready to do his best on the right day.
Out of a place in only one of his 11 starts, Wah May Star's main attributes include a tactical ability to take a handy position and that will give Whyte options from barrier five, regardless of tempo, and the grey has even been in front at times.
He should be prominent throughout before showing the great attitude and toughness he has displayed to win four from six starts at 1,400m.
That toughness was on display in defeat last start, when Wah May Star looked to be struggling at the home turn on May 19, but then applied himself when the pressure was on and kept finding to run second, chasing home his major rival today, President Lincoln (Zac Purton).
Like Tsui, President Lincoln's trainer Danny Shum Chap-shing will have the Classic Mile, Classic Cup and Derby in mind for the former New Zealander.
The gelding had won two out of three before his importation, then made a terrific impression on debut winning, when Purton had him camped in a perfect trailing spot and President Lincoln travelled like the winner before putting them away smartly over this course.
But he has a weight turnaround with Wah May Star that may give the other horse an edge and he had been well-prepped for the first-up race so just how much improvement he has in him is open to question.
These two three-year-old up-and-comers look to dominate the feature race, but look for something better from New Vision (Mark du Plessis) dropping back to Class Two and returning to 1,400m, where he has won most of his races.
New Vision was not stretching out two runs ago in a similar grade and was eased out of the race and then failed in a stop-start sprint in a higher grade last time.
Paul O'Sullivan has freshened New Vision in the five weeks since that race, and he should be respected despite top weight as he has some decent form around the likes of Time After Time and Glorious Days.
The win strike rate for Me Tsui and Douglas Whyte