Climb aboard for Victory
Fast-rising star Victory Mount bids for Sassoon Cup glory on his seasonal debut and underline his claims as a likely contender for some of the best prizes in local racing.
Trainer John Moore has been bullish about Victory Mount since the American-bred three-year-old first stepped out and he has been proven completely correct as the youngster today bids for his fourth successive win.
Distance was against him on his racecourse debut last season but Irish ace Mick Kinane, who rode him that day, predicted big things for the horse over longer distances.
And that has certainly been the case. Victory Mount went on to chalk up wins under Kinane, memorably with Gary Moore aboard, and then Glen Boss did the honours at the end of last season.
His wins were gained twice over 1,400 metres and the, at his final start, over a Sha Tin mile.
Today's event is over 1,400 metres and is ideal for Victory Mount who has been responsible for some magnificent work in the lead-up to his seasonal debut.
Despite the awkward draw of 13 on the D Course, it will be difficult to oppose Victory Mount whose efforts in barrier trials and in grass workouts have all drawn rave notices.
Victory Mount has clearly blossomed afresh over the summer and success today would really pitchfork him right into the reckoning for some very big races - most naturally his prime target for the season, the Hong Kong Derby.
Astute trainer Moore has mapped out Victory Mount's campaign with care and could not have chosen a better event for a first-up tilt. The Sassoon is one of the older races in the calendar and invariably attracts a good field as is the case today.
If Victory Mount succeeds, his credentials will have been tested at the best level and the only way on from this is up.
Paddy Payne becomes the fourth rider in five starts on Victory Mount and the Australian ace is enjoying a superb season to date - and one that is certain to continue. He will get the best out of Victory Mount and, despite the quality of this field, it should be good enough.
Super Freighter did not have the best of luck in transit last time and will also be the better for the run which suggests the Tony Cruz-trained galloper should be kept safe. He is a definite quinella and tierce possibility and racegoers will welcome Douglas Whyte back after his short spell on the sidelines through suspension.
But the hardest to beat could be Lucky Partners who finished a solid second to Smart Kid the Kwangtung Cup last month. He was ridden from off the pace by Basil Marcus and it will be interesting to see if similar tactics are employed today.
In the past Lucky Partners had been ridden with success from in front and those tactics might suit better on the narrow D Course. But there is then the obvious danger of being tackled when in front and there are a couple here who could do just that.
A fitter Right Way likes to be on the pace and he will run a good race over his favourite trip while those looking for a bit of value for the quinella or tierce could consider Red Jeans.
The horse is unquestionably fit and despite the extreme outside draw could run boldly here for a long way. He is not the roughest.
Bottomweight Orlando Magic, who had conditions to suit last time, is a small each-way chance. He has ability and a pull in the weights will obviously help.
But the odds will surely reflect public confidence in Victory Mount - a likely future star on the Hong Kong scene.