Veni Vedi Vici ticks all the boxes to conquer Valley
With a handy weight, a nice draw and a step up in trip, Veni Vedi Vici is ready to come, see and conquer the Happy Valley 1,650m tonight in the France Galop Cup.
The five-year-old hasn't been as dismissive of all opposition as Julius Caesar was in a battle that led to the flippant, famous quote for which the Caspar Fownes-trained galloper is named, but he appears to have had his share of acclimatisation issues since his import from New Zealand in late 2007.
For a horse with strong Group performances over further in New Zealand, it might seem odd that his best efforts in Hong Kong have been in short sprints.
Veni Vedi Vici (Mark du Plessis) has been reported several times with mucopus problems, a sure sign that he was still coming to terms with his new home and making Fownes' job of preparing him to run longer more difficult.
Whether he is over those problems or not, Veni Vedi Vici's last two efforts in finishing second to Mi Reilly and tonight's rival, Willing Storm (Darren Beadman), over 1,200m have been excellent and suggest he is ready to break through.
If anything, he did look a touch beaten for dash by Willing Storm last time and that is a good pointer to his chances going to the longer trip.
In addition, Veni Vedi Vici will meet that winner on better terms for a ?length defeat and he should in the right spot throughout from gate two.
The speed that he is showing at 1,200m is going to be gold finding position on the 'C' track and the box seat rails, trailing the leaders, looks his spot.
While Veni Vedi Vici placed twice at Group Two level over 1,600m as a three-year-old in New Zealand, Willing Storm is a query going to the mile as he has never been tried beyond 1,400m and was keen at that distance in his early career here.
For a danger to Veni Vedi Vici, it's hard to go past Operation Secret (Weichong Marwing), an admirable galloper who has really found a home over the Valley mile.
He has won two and placed three times from seven attempts, but even his unplaced runs have been excellent. He was wide and without cover but still found the line well when sixth to Really Happy last start.
Better drawn this time, he is a threat, despite giving away a lot of weight to Fownes' runner.
Others down in the weights offering a threat include Winning Reward (Alec Lai Hoi-wing) and Ankh Morpork (Marco Chui Kwan-lai). Both have poor draws, but the presence of Iron Fist, Silver Sun and short-course sprinter Diamond Brilliance look to make this a truly run affair and they will be finishing off the race.
Placings Veni Vedi Vici has racked up from nine attempts since trainer Caspar Fownes (below) purchased him from New Zealand: 2