Great Honour set to strike
Great Honour is a confident selection for the fifth event at Sha Tin this evening on one of the most exciting cards to be found anywhere in the world.
First and foremost there is the Triple Trio for which a king's ransom of $74 million has been carried forward and which could lead to record total sales approaching the magic $300 million mark as Triple Trio fever grips the territory for yet another week.
There is the Piaget Gold Cup, tonight's sixth event, for which Aggressive Dragon can underline his International Bowl claims for next season. He should be heavily favoured by the short straight, the rail back to the A Course and the almost certain front-running bias.
Last, but far from least, there is the English Derby, that tumultuous 2,400-metre spectacular run on the rolling Epsom Downs with its myriad twists and turns and changing gradients which combine for a unique test of the Thoroughbred.
The best Derby trial form is usually the 2,000 Guineas and that is why Entrepreneur is a worthy favourite. His jockey, Mick Kinane, has a big-race record to match any jockey in the world and he rises to the occasion.
But from the Derby to an ordinary Class Five event in which Great Honour looks the one they all have to beat.
His work had picked up noticeably going into his most recent outing when he ran a creditable third to King Spot and Ming River.
Great Honour was clearly suited by the drop into Class Five on that occasion and is up against a weak field this evening.
He has worked even better since that run and particularly caught the eye in each of his last two pieces of work.
It is highly significant that trainer Gary Ng Ting-keung, who is most astute at setting his horses for specific targets, has taken the trouble to engage the prolific and quite brilliant Australian rider, Patrick Payne, for Great Honour.
Payne is riding on the crest of a wave and his presence may well shave a point or so from Great Honour's odds but, more importantly, it will go a long way to ensuring victory.
Winford looks a likely danger to Great Honour as does Fast Action.
Winford went firmly into the notebook last time when ridden by apprentice Keith Kwok and badly held up halfway down the straight in the race won by Shining Winner from Bravado.
That was in Class Four and this is considerably easier for Winford, who is now down to an attractive handicap mark.
Fast Action has been racing consistently and goes very well for Eric Saint-Martin, who won on him three starts ago.