Fownes' Jackpot Delight can live up to expectations
Jackpot Delight left New Zealand with a massive reputation after having a near-perfect record in six starts and he's set to prove he is the real deal when he makes his local debut in this afternoon's Ashley Handicap (1,400m) at Sha Tin.
The only blemish in the Dansasinga gelding's record occurred at his first start when he was relegated from first to fourth by stewards after causing severe interference by drifting from the inside to the outside rail.
He wasted little time in making amends, scoring on his next outing 19 days later, and he then went from strength to strength in reeling off another four wins, including an eight-length demolition of his rivals at his most recent start at Otaki on June 23.
Jackpot Delight, whose granddam is the former champion Emancipation, has only had one lead-up trial since arriving but the Caspar Fownes-trained gelding looked every inch a class conveyance in running third to stablemate Royal Delight.
The grey was slow from the barriers in last Friday's test and settled well back before Shane Dye took inside runs in the straight and Jackpot Delight lengthened well to be beaten just under two lengths.
Although settling well off the speed in the trial, the four-year-old either led or raced right on the speed in his six New Zealand starts and Dye is likely have him straight into a prominent position from gate 10 this afternoon.
Although tackling many race-fit rivals, the early signs are positive that Jackpot Delight will use this event as a stepping stone to much better races.
His toughest opposition will come from the lightly weighted Winning Fellowship, who has been showing signs he's again ready to be tried at this trip.
The O'Reilly gelding has stayed on well at his last two starts and looks perfectly placed taking a rise in class. He gets a massive 18 pounds drop in weight after Howard Cheng Yu-tin's two-pound allowance.
The Danny Shum Chap-shing-trained gelding is also likely to be prominently ridden and prove tough opposition for Jackpot Delight.
Operation Secret only needs some luck from a wide barrier, while Bullish Cash, unbeaten in three runs at this distance in New Zealand, could be the surprise packet off the inside barrier.
Viva Hong Kong is also making his local debut. He arrived with sound credentials from England and on the evidence of a November 20 trial win he looks to have a bright future. The Lemon Drop Kid three-year-old only won one race in England but was rarely far from the cash in his other seven starts, including a commendable seventh in Authoried's Derby win at Epsom in early June.
Although the John Moore-trained colt won his only lead-up trial, he ran a relatively slow time and gives the impression he will come into his own when he gets over more ground.