Golconda to enjoy the trip
Ivan Allan has a great chance to add more silverware to the cabinet today when Golconda contests the Yan Chai Trophy, the main supporting race to the Sha Tin Trophy on a high-quality 10-race programme.
The mile event has attracted a competitive line-up, but the progressive Golconda should take all the beating after a tenacious win on his seasonal reappearance. The former griffin now boasts three wins from his six starts and there could be more to come now that he takes a significant leap up in distance, with all of his previous efforts having come over 1,200 metres or shorter. He has always indicated that he will appreciate more ground and his bloodlines back that up as he is a son of Ezzoud, a triple Group One winner in England over a mile and a quarter.
While Golconda tackles stronger opposition here, he is still reasonably well handicapped having only received five pounds for his last victory, and taking into account that he had not been fully wound up for his last run there should be plenty of improvement to come.
Hardest to beat could be the perennial placegetter Rebel Leader, who ran well against the tempo last time to finish a highly creditable third behind subsequent winner Aucash. Tony Culhane, who retains the ride today, was always going to have a tough task last time with the sedate early sectionals and his mount put in a strong performance to rally in the final 200 metres. He has drawn better today and, with more pace likely, he should go close.
Peaceful Century finished just ahead of Rebel Leader in that event and is holding his form well so far this season. He lost no admirers in defeat and must have strong claims to figure in the finish.
All The Best was tried with slightly different tactics on his last start when ridden from just behind the leading bunch, and it clearly had no adverse affects as he plugged on well to finish second behind Classic Master. With a light weight and Douglas Whyte on board, it is hard not to include him in multiples even though he does face his hardest task to date.
Hornet, Ever Glory and Viper Corp are all possible leaders, but with the latter pair finishing well behind Aucash in that key race, it is hard to make a case for either today. Hornet displayed some improvement last time despite a poor barrier, but he has another difficult draw and is most effective when not pressured in the lead.
Of the remainder, Greenmore looks at his right mark in the handicap but is more than capable of filling a minor placing, while High Spirits should be given due respect. There is no doubt he would prefer further than a mile, but he does take a significant drop in grade today and could well run a cheeky race.
Many will be sticking around to witness the final event, which features the debut of Derby aspirant Olympic Express. Having performed well over a mile in England, one would assume he will find this on the short side and his condition should improve for the outing as he is a long way off his intended goal.
The one to beat is David Hayes' All Thrills Too, who ran with merit last time when second to Our Class in the American Club Challenge Cup. He has a solid record down the straight 1,000 metres and can go one better today.
It may be worth including John Moore's Starway Patrol, another debutant, as the main quinella selection. The Australian import has been placed in Group company and has been quite impressive in his work and trials leading up to his first run.
Asia Rising won on his only previous start at course and distance and, considering he has won first-up on more than one occasion in the past, he is another for the shortlist.
Earlier in the day, Andy Leung Ting-wah's Cyber Wisdom can be followed in the second event. The lowly-rated runner caught the eye in a recent barrier trial when ridden patiently from behind and he finished strongly in a good-quality heat. It would be no surprise if similar tactics were adopted today.