Consistent One World ready to soak up limelight
A return to handicaps and a more suitable pace should see the John Moore-trained One World get back into the winner's circle after the Group Three Sha Tin Vase (1,200m) this afternoon.
It's a race Moore has won four times previously, but the most recent was with Winning Counter nine years ago, so the leading big-event trainer looks due to claim the prize again.
One World (Derek Leung Ka-chun) started favourite in the Vase 12 months ago, but managed only fourth to Gallant Lion in atrocious wet conditions which saw the meeting abandoned just half an hour later.
Provided he gets kinder conditions, One World will get his chance to back up some terrific, consistent form in the top-grade races, despite the usual disadvantage in these Group Three handicaps of carrying the number one saddlecloth.
Not a great deal has gone right for One World since he finished second to Inspiration in a similar event in October, but he has soldiered on gallantly to be around the finish of some of the best sprint races available here and in Dubai.
At times, it has been poor barriers, at others a lack of pace in the Group Ones which feature smaller fields and often tactically difficult contests and, if there is a serious flaw in his armour at the highest level, it is that he is a victim to a slow tempo.
That was the case behind Ultra Fantasy in the Sprint Cup last time, but One World's final sectionals showed that he ran his heart out in finishing fourth.
This race promises none of that issue. From gate 10, he can be expected to get well back in the field, but with Ultra Fantasy, Sweet Sanette (Brett Prebble) and lightly weighted forward runners like Dream Team, Prime Champion and Norman Invader, the tempo should see a softening up of the front horses before One World, Brilliant Chapter (Douglas Whyte) and Amigo (Jeff Lloyd) launch big finishes in the final 150m.
The Gary Ng Ting-keung-trained Sweet Sanette would be a standout at the weights if this was 1,000m, and she still looks a strong danger if Prebble can get her a breather somewhere. But the brilliant mare has a question hanging over her at 1,200m that was not properly answered at Happy Valley recently, and any serious pressure on the lead will leave her vulnerable to the finishers again.
Number of times John Moore has won the Sha Tin Vase: 4