Light weight and tactical pace give Enriched the edge
The lack of a worthwhile tempo and a light weight may be the deciding factors for the John Size-trained Enriched as he tackles 1,600m again this afternoon in the final feature of the season, the Sha Tin Mile Trophy.
Caspar Fownes has won the past two runnings of this race with Excellent Boy and Jackpot Delight and he has a strong hand again with Jackpot Delight and particularly Young Elite (Brett Prebble), but Enriched (Douglas Whyte) looks capable of turning them over - if he can run out the 1,600m.
His record at the distance reads one start for one win in Class Two last March, but the gelding will want to produce something better than he did that day if he is to win this time. Craig Williams gave Enriched a terrific ride, yet the hot favourite gave every indication he was battling in the final stages.
On that evidence, 1,600m is a test for him in a tougher race, but there are factors that could see him a better proposition now.
One is that Enriched's form then may already have been on the way down - back to 1,400m next time he ran like a tired horse and was given a break - and that he may have toughened up further in the four months since. Enriched resumed from that break with a tough second to Lucky Nine, giving that smart galloper plenty of weight over 1,400m, but will have things the other way and getting plenty of poundage off some of his better-performed rivals.
The other factor which should play in his favour is the lack of obvious speed in the race and Enriched has the tactical pace to take advantage of that.
His great danger may not be Young Elite, who is a quality horse but has a champion's task ahead with 133 pounds, but the David Hall-trained Legend (Ben So Tik-hung) with just 109 pounds on board.
Legend has been successful this season, winning four races over varying distances. He may not have to give too much start from a good draw.
There was nothing amiss with his first run from a break in that Lucky Nine race, either, and he will drop 18 pounds while Enriched drops nine pounds, but the trade off for So's claim is that he has also lost the superior skills of Prebble.
Douglas Whyte and John Size, who head the jockeys' and trainers' table, have combined 234 times for a winning strike rate of: 23%