English import looks a banker in feature race
Rely on Mr Judge as banker material in the middle pin of tomorrow night's Triple Trio at Sha Tin.
The English import has raced consistently and courageously for champion trainer Ivan Allan, who has set him for the feature event, the Hong Kong University Alumni Association Challenge Cup.
Allan likes nothing more than adorning his mantlepiece with silverware and Mr Judge should strip appreciably fitter for his first-up effort.
He has also struck one of the least competitive fields he's been in for some time with Allan taking advantage of the voluntary demotion scheme.
Indeed, Mr Judge is the only Class One horse in this mile event for Class One and Class Two performers so it would have been virtually impossible to find a more suitable contest.
Add to that, two of the bottomweights, Thunderbolt and Braveheart, are expected to put up a pound and two pounds overweight.
It isn't much but every little helps given that so many races or placings are decided by the camera.
It is also a situation which needs to be addressed with the new bottomweight minimum of 113 pounds clearly not working.
Here we have Mr Judge taking a voluntary demotion and getting in with just 130 pounds, which is a very lenient topweight by the standards of any other major racing jurisdiction, yet there are just not the top jockeys available to do the weight at the bottom of the scale so forcing overweight to be carried. Clearly there is urgent need for the handicappers to be allowed to raise the weights at declaration time to say, 133 pounds.
It will be interesting to see how quickly, or slowly, the Racing Department reacts.
In the meantime it is something Mr Judge can exploit and at least run into the tierce for his Triple Trio followers.
Cottage View put up a good effort last time to run fourth to Red Jeans, having blown the start.
He is another leading contender, as is the improving Feeling Bright for the in-form Brian Kan.
Easy Champ comes into it off some solid performances this season and last, while Miss Piggy and Full Speed Ahead have been working well. Of these stablemates, preference is just for Miss Piggy given the way he just appeared to shade a solid grass gallop against Full Speed Ahead last Saturday morning.
King's Glamour went firmly into the notebook last time, hitting the line very hard, though he may just need one more run before he is in peak condition.
Alex Wong Siu-tan and new boy Larry Cassidy have plenty of firepower with which to work this season, not least the potential improver Express Duke in the third event which opens the Triple Trio.
Express Duke ran with considerable promise on his only start last season when fourth to Sky Walker and has worked even better this time in.
The Triple Trio concludes with race six for which Applause has been working with his customary zest.
Those looking for a bit more value may want to consider Horse-Laugh, who was in good form at the end of last season and could improve further, and King David, who ran well when fourth to Winford last weekend without having too much luck in the final 200 metres.
The Double Trio doesn't attract the same attention as in previous years due to the huge dividends paid out by its big brother, the Triple Trio.
But it is in many ways a much more sensible bet for exotic pot-hunters as the stakes are more manageable.
It opens with the night's feature event and concludes with the fifth in which it is going to be hard to keep Allan's Ellen's Voyage out of the frame.