Packing can live up to his rich bloodlines
The margin may have only been 11/4 lengths but Douglas Whyte left plenty of petrol in the tank when Packing Winner claimed Saturday's Kwangtung Cup in his comeback race for the season.
Packing Winner, a son of super sire Zabeel, has now won four races and finished a close second (to last season's champion griffin and five-time winner Joy And Fun) from his last six starts, with a veterinary excuse for the one rank failure.
He certainly looks to be a horse going places and has a pedigree to support any big-race ambition.
The gelding is bred on an interesting cross of speed and stamina, with Zabeel being the southern hemisphere's premier distance influence and Packing Winner's dam, Musical Note, being by two-times champion sire and STC Golden Slipper Stakes winner Marscay, from a daughter of a champion European juvenile in Monteverdi. Zabeel's most famous son in Hong Kong is, of course, the David Ferraris-trained Vengeance Of Rain, winner of nine races and the reigning Horse of the Year, not to mention the highest prize money earner of all time with a bankroll of over HK$74.6 million.
Zabeel also sired one of South African's greatest horses in recent years, Greys Inn, who proved what he could do at international level in 2005 with a second to none other than our own Vengeance Of Rain in the QE II Cup.
But in his own back yard, the racetracks of Australia and New Zealand, Zabeel is far and away the ultimate influence for classic stamina.
Of his 109 individual stakes winners, 37 have achieved their status at Group One level and to give that some historical perspective, the pre-Danehill benchmark was Zabeel's sire Sir Tristram with 46.
Champions like Might And Power and Octagonal, a second Melbourne Cup winner in Jezabeel, a raft of Derby winners like Sky Heights, St Reims, Don Eduardo, Hades and Zonda, and a leading older stayer like Railings - not many sires have better credentials as a gilt-edge stamina influence than Zabeel.
So when trainer Peter Ho Leung says he's going to give Packing Winner the chance to measure up as an international race contender in December, you know the pedigree department, at least, won't be letting the gelding down.
Like all good horses, Packing Winner's trump card is a deadly turn of acceleration.
It probably wasn't at full potency on Saturday for two reasons - the event was run at a moderate pace and the gelding was first-up from a spell and therefore not asked to do more than he had to.
But with that run under his belt, it will be a significantly tougher Packing Winner who steps out next time. And the 10 pounds he received for this win from the handicapping department probably won't be enough to hinder him.