Draw, handicap mark and class all point to Whyte's mount
Experienced Happy Valley sprinter Supreme Goliath is drawn to slay the boom youngster My Honour in this afternoon's feature event at Happy Valley, the Hong Kong Football Club Challenge Cup.
The race is run over an ideal 1,200 metres, as far as the sponsor is concerned, as it means the field jumps from literally outside the football club's windows and scoots past the club's gym before taking the nasty right-hander and swinging down the tricky city circuit's back straight.
All this should be grist to the mill for Supreme Goliath. He's done it all before at Happy Valley and is drawn perfectly in barrier one to do it all again. He should also relish taking on this Class Three company, having been a useful Class One sprinter as recently as 12 months ago.
The draw is ideal as Supreme Goliath loves to sit handy but smothered up. If he sees too much daylight too early, he can start to race too freely and not get home. From barrier one, and with the demon Douglas Whyte in the saddle, this eight-year-old speedster should get the perfect trail behind something like Mighty And Gold or Easy King, who are drawn in gates three and four.
Last time out, 10-pound claimer Way Leung didn't appear able to get to the bottom of Supreme Goliath and prior to that the David Oughton-trained gelding needed his reappearance effort.
Whyte said yesterday: 'It's going to be really interesting to see how he runs. He seems to have retained enough ability to be competitive given the way he's dropped in the ratings. Pulling barrier one is a plus factor, providing we jump well, but he's an old pro and knows his job.
'We should get the run of the race. Whether we can beat My Honour, it's a tough call. He's got youth on his side. We've got experience and the draw. We're also on a bit of a roll and will be doing everything to maintain that momentum.'
A quick flick back through last season's form book shows how well handicapped Supreme Goliath could be. For example, early last January he ran a cracking fourth to Schubert, Trillion Win and Sun Shine River, beaten just 2.5 lengths, off a mark of 90 in a Class One Sha Tin handicap. And on his best form of last term, a half-length second to Crystal Charm from a mark of 88 over the Valley 1,000 metres, he has the clear beating of Mighty And Gold.
As a measure of how well Supreme Goliath now appears to be rated, he starts this afternoon from a mark of just 72. This is one contest where Goliath may prevail, especially as My Honour is racing for the first time at the Valley's very difficult 1,200-metre trip and may have a tough time of it from barrier eight rounding that first bend.