Inspiration up to tough task: Beadman
'From the first day I got on him, he has felt like a really high-class sprinter'
Trainer John Moore has taken the advice of retained jockey Darren Beadman and returned underrated Inspiration to 1,200 metres for Saturday's Daffodil Handicap for Class One horses at Sha Tin.
Moore has been deliberating what to do with the classy son of Flying Spur, originally thinking of the Group One Mercedes-Benz Classic Mile on January 20 but ultimately changing tack and adopting a fresh-is-best approach.
Beadman admits he has put his judgment and reputation on the line but, having ridden a large number of outstanding sprinters during his career in Australia, believes he knows what a good one feels like.
'From the first day I got on him, he has felt like a really high-class sprinter,' Beadman said. 'I know John had been thinking about taking him to 1,600 metres against his own age in the Classic Mile, and that may well have worked, but the feel he gives me is that of a specialist sprinter.
'He's been doing a great job where he is in the ratings, at the top of Class Two and carrying 132 or 133 pounds against some very smart horses. Personally, I'm quite comfortable with the idea that he'll measure up to the better class, but we'll know soon enough.'
Inspiration has a terrific fresh record and will not have raced for 35 days by the time he lines up on Saturday afternoon. The chestnut has not raced since failing, with no luck, behind He Can Tango in the Camellia Handicap over 1,400m at Sha Tin on January 6.
Moore also threw in an entry for Inspiration the following week - the Group One Chairman's Sprint Prize - which may be a fraction beyond what Beadman meant by 'better class'.
The Sprint Prize is the second leg of the triple crown for the speed demons and the next clash in the ongoing Sacred Kingdom-Absolute Champion star wars.
So far, the world champions for the past two seasons have met three times and run one-two in all three, with Sacred Kingdom taking the points in the International Sprint Trial and the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sprint, but Absolute Champion clawing one back last start in the Centenary Sprint Cup.
The 'fresh blood' in the Chairman's Sprint Prize (1,200m) will be Medic Power, who hasn't raced since failing in the International Sprint Trial, won by Sacred Kingdom on November 17.
The Paul O'Sullivan-trained four-year-old was a heavily backed 2-1 second favourite behind Sacred Kingdom ($18) but pulled up with a heart irregularity and his Hong Kong Sprint plans were immediately shelved.
Medic Power had a quiet, steady barrier trial over 1,200m on the all-weather at Sha Tin last Friday with Brett Prebble on board. The New Zealand-bred gelding was eased down in the final 200m and came through it well, with O'Sullivan confirming his Chairman's Sprint Prize nomination on Monday.
Also on February 17, the Mercedes-Benz Derby Trial (1,800m) will be run and the lack of depth in the Classic Mile on January 20 has given rise to some fresh entries of in-form horses.
Dennis Yip Chor-hong has entered last-start Class Two winner Lu Yue, while Tony Cruz - trainer of Classic Mile hero Helene Mascot - now has back-up entries in Danesis and Bullish Win.