Trial to provide final clues for Derby
Tuesday's Hong Kong Derby Trial (1,800m) will provide the final clues to finding the winner of this year's Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby (2,000m) - and trainer Caspar Fownes is hoping the trail leads straight to his stable door after he saddles Super Satin and Beauty Legend at the Chinese New Year meet.
Fownes has taken a different tack to most in preparing his star four-year-old Super Satin for the rich Group One staying event, avoiding the classic lead-up of the Group One Hong Kong Classic Mile (1,600m), which was dominated by the Tony Cruz-trained Beauty Flash.
It is hard to imagine any of the horses who chased Cruz's talented front-runner home in that race turning the tables - but the Super Satin adds a new dimension to the Derby Trial and the trainer cannot wait to see how he measures up.
'I'm keen to see what happens on Tuesday and see how Super Satin lines up,' Fownes said.
'It's the big test for him now; he has been nice and progressive in his four wins and he is in good form - I was happy with his trial on Tuesday and he has been working well. He is happy and I expect him to run accordingly.'
Fownes is expecting his other Derby hopeful, Beauty Legend, to improve on his ninth placing behind Beauty Flash in the Classic Mile and be competitive over the longer journey.
'Beauty Legend will appreciate the step up to 1,800 metres and will like it even more once he gets to the 2,000 metres of the Derby - I think he is going to be better suited at the longer trip,' Fownes said.
'They both get their chance to show their true colours if they are real Derby hopes on Tuesday, and it will be good to see how they line up with Beauty Flash and Super Pistachio, who looks like he is an improver over the 1,800 metres.
'John Moore's horse Irian also looks a quality stayer and I'm expecting him to run well.'
Fownes has already secured a strong advantage in the Derby Trial - with leading jockeys Brett Prebble (Beauty Legend) and Douglas Whyte (Super Satin) retaining their rides.
'It's nice to know your horses have the support of the two best jockeys in the business,' Fownes said. 'Both Brett and Dougy could have ridden a number of other horses, but they have chosen to stick with mine and hopefully they will be rewarded.'