Good Ba Ba gunning for historic Stewards' Cup triple
Derek Cruz has already made history with Good Ba Ba by winning three successive Hong Kong Miles and he can add another timeless moment with the eight-year-old by taking a third straight Group One Stewards' Cup today at Sha Tin.
The most highly achieved miler in Hong Kong racing history, Good Ba Ba (Olivier Doleuze) will become the first horse to win three Stewards' Cups in a row if he can pull it off this time.
Always Plentiful (1984, 1985) and Electronic Unicorn (2002, 2003) also won the 1,600m showpiece twice in succession, but none has managed to go in a third time.
And it is hard to argue against Good Ba Ba's credentials after he beat most of the same rivals on international day with his trademark big finish.
Cruz was patient with his preparation for that race, having the old gelding perfect on the right day to win the major, and Good Ba Ba's work since suggests he is at east good now.
Of course he has the outside draw to contend with, but that will not trouble him, provided he gets the right tempo. That is going to be the crucial factor.
Egyptian Ra (Christophe Soumillon) has finished behind Good Ba Ba at six of their 10 meetings. When he has beaten him, it has generally been in lesser calibre races, but he is another eight-year-old in great form and promises to get a solo lead as he did in that one notable defeat of Good Ba Ba in the Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup a year ago.
The gelding is not the most brilliant of beginners now and can take a couple of strides to get into his action, but with moderate starters Jackpot Delight and Special Days (Douglas Whyte) on either side of him, the opportunity to roll to the lead should be available and he is still tough to get past.
Add Collection and the favourites look well defined, but if there is a surprise packet it could be Special Days backing up from his big effort last week over 1,400m under a big weight.
The John Size-trained gelding did not look to have returned in top form this season after lacklustre efforts in his first couple of runs, but with racing, he has improved to a new career high. He may have been outclassed at this level in the past, but as a sprightly six-year-old, he has a little time on his side over Good Ba Ba and Egyptian Ra.
Good Ba Ba has won 16 races, including nine Group events, and has collected impressive prize money of: $15.6m