Figures say Premiership one to follow
Former champion trainer John Moore and ace Irish pilot Mick Kinane returned from the Christmas break with a bang, the pair teaming up to provide the first and third legs of the Hysan Divided Handicap at Sha Tin on Sunday.
It was their victory with We Know When that grabbed the biggest headlines as the three-year-old son of Private Terms trotted up in the eighth event of the afternoon and went into plenty of notebooks as a live Derby contender. But, as impressive as it looked, was this a performance of real substance? The figures suggest not.
On an afternoon dominated by mile races, five contests over 1,600 metres provide plenty of data to analyse and We Know When clearly won a muddling affair to record the least noteworthy time performance of the afternoon over the trip. Only one of the other four 1,600-metre races was won in a slower time and even so it was by only 0.2 of a second with Noble Knight carrying 10 pounds more to victory than We Know When.
The comparisons don't stop there. The early sectional times were the slowest of the mile races and, while the winner came home well, a final split of 24.0 seconds is nothing to get excited about.
In short, the John Moore-trained Derby hopeful clocked a Topspeed rating of just 43, while Lucky Partners earned 54 in Division Two, Noble Knight returned a 51 time rating in the Leighton Handicap, Adjareli posted a 73 for his win and Premiership led the way with a 62 speed rating.
None of this can take away from the visual impression of We Know When's win and he is undoubtedly a more talented galloper than he has shown to date. But Sunday's win told us nothing; he had already clocked a 66 Topspeed when winning his first start over the trip and he still has plenty to prove.
The first leg of that Moore-Kinane double came through Adjareli. The Irish 2,000 Guineas runner-up displayed his first real form in the territory to clock a solid if not spectacular 73 speed figure on the fast sandmesh surface. He showed a smart burst of speed to land the spoils.
However, his best efforts in Europe were when allowed to show speed off a slow pace and he may need things his own way.
No such reservations surround Premiership. Getting the better of the in-form Universal Boss by a neck, that pair drew clear of the remainder and, in earning a Topspeed rating of 62, produced the time performance of the afternoon relative to class.
We Know When may well justify the hype in time but past history suggests you may go broke waiting. Premiership has the figures (relative to class) in the bank - make sure you cash them in.