Bolero looks a class above the rest
Bolero was the one of the most impressive debut winners seen this season, and he should confirm he is a horse heading towards much better races by claiming today's HK$1.5 million Juvenile Sprint Trophy over 1,200 metres at Sha Tin.
The Ricky Yiu Poon-fie-trained gelding lined up for his first start five weeks ago in a griffin race down the 1,000m straight course at Sha Tin and left his rivals standing in scoring a commanding win, despite not being fully tested.
The Thorn Park juvenile travelled easily on the back of the speed and showed a terrific turn of foot when asked by Zac Purton to blow his opposition away.
The beaten brigade was headed by Hot Pepper, who then franked the form by winning his only other start.
Despite Purton having plenty of time to prepare for his photo pose, Bolero still posted an impressive 56.8 seconds, by far the best time recorded by any griffin this season.
Although facing significantly tougher opposition and rising to 1,200m for the first time, Bolero should position on the back of the speed from gate seven and, with only 117 pounds to carry, he will prove too good.
His toughest opposition will come from fellow debutant winners Home Treasure and the well-bred Danzulu.
Home Treasure, a strapping three-year-old by Shinko King, turned his first start into a one-act affair after bouncing straight to the lead under Brett Prebble to score a soft victory over subsequent winner Withallmyheart.
With Prebble opting to stick with Silver Blaze, the mount has fallen to champion jockey Douglas Whyte, and he is sure to have the Almond Lee Yee-tat-trained gelding right on the speed, and he will be the one Bolero has to gun down.
Danzulu, a half brother to former top class gelding Grand Zulu, may be some 300 pounds smaller than Home Treasure, but he showed he has a good engine when scoring at his first start three weeks ago.
The David Hall-trained gelding, by Catbird, could not have been more impressive in beating Tycoon Taylor, with the only query about the success being the quality of the opposition he defeated.
While taking on significantly tougher rivals, Danzulu has the advantage of drawing gate one, which should allow Olivier Doleuze to obtain the run of the race and produce the colt at the right time.
Prebble has given punters a good lead by sticking with Silver Blaze in preference to Home Treasure and Danzulu, but he will need to produce a gem of a ride for the three-year-old to overcome the outside barrier.
The Dennis Yip Chor-hong-trained gelding kicked strongly to win at the first time of asking, before losing no marks with a narrow second to capable Goal Keeper eight weeks ago.
The Don Eduardo gelding showed he had retained that form by running on well to finish third to Fast Winner in a 1,200m barrier trial on June 13, and he does appear to have the makings of promising type.
Bolero posted an impressive time of this many seconds in his debut win: 56.8