Hayes' Ain't Here in a class of his own
The supreme ease of the victory of Ain't Here in the Asia's World City Cathay Pacific International Cup Trial (race 172) indicated the Australian import was going to have a leading chance of landing a hometown victory next month - whether it's the Hong Kong Cup or Vase.
It's not too often that any horse at that level cruises to victory in such an impressive manner, and the time of 2:01.0 seconds (0.1 seconds outside Falbrav's 2003 winning time) was excellent. The win deserved plenty of merit given Saturn set out some slick early sectionals, making it a truly run contest.
Runner-up Bowman's Crossing has already proven himself a worthy contender at international level, once again, enhancing the performance of the winner.
Before arriving in Hong Kong, Ain't Here finished third in the VRC Derby (G1-2,500 metres), confirming he would not have any trouble in seeing out the distance in the Vase (2,400m). It all bodes well for the local challenge.
Heroic Attribute, made a fine impression on debut when second to Fair Win over 1,200m (race 167). He is clearly looking for more ground, and the well-bred son of Zabeel will no doubt show his true worth, in time, and over a longer journey. Third-placed Turf Gold was a shade unlucky and deserves another chance.
Although the plunge on Eastkowloon Spirit ($260 to $71) came unstuck, those who wagered on him can feel aggrieved. Even though the tempo was steady, he made his move around the bend, keeping four-to-five wide, without cover. It was a good effort in defeat, along with runner-up Joyful World, who displayed marked improvement and can be followed next time.
One of the best runs in defeat came from Green Treasure (race 173). He was severely hampered on two occasions in the home straight. He should have won and looks an exciting prospect.
There was little market support for Star Prodigy (99-1), who defied his win-quote when sixth to Shogun over 1,200m (race 168). He will appreciate further, along with Corajoso (third).
The way Harvest (fourth) found the line over 1,400m (race 171) indicated he would relish a move up to a mile. He has fallen to a competitive mark in the handicap.
The turn of foot Expectations (sixth) displayed in the concluding stages of the 1,400m event (race 175) was encouraging and must be kept safe.
ONES TO NOTE:
Heroic Attribute, Harvest, Expectations.