Step up in trip is the key for Speechmaker
Speechmaker may have been an unwanted customer in the betting at 95-1, but the way he hit the line in the Class Four Jules Audemars Handicap (1,400m) on Sunday at Sha Tin suggests the four-year-old is on the way to bigger things.
The Michael Chang Chun-wai-trained colt broke from gate three under a hefty 133-pound weight assignment for jockey Jeff Lloyd, was allowed to find his own stride, before unleashing a powerful burst to finish third behind exciting Quantum Power.
Speechmaker had a good preparation for the debut, including a very strong trial effort behind Treasure Gold three weeks ago over the Sha Tin straight, and it was no surprise to see him lengthen in the final 400m.
The son of Royal Applause and a Caerleon mare will come on for the outing and will be looking forward to a step up in distance as his formline reads from Ireland.
Raced under the same name in Ireland for trainer David Wachman, Speechmaker had been making his mark over the 2,000m at second-tier tracks - winning once with a second at Roscommon, before placing third at his final run at Clonmel. He is a strong stamp of horse weighing in at 1,181 pounds and has the ability to head higher off his opening mark of 65.
Tony Millard was all smiles after the win by Ambitious Dragon in the Group One Audemars Piguet QE II Cup (2,000m) and will have been beaming after a sound debut performance by the 85-rated import Treasure Gold in a Class Two over 1,200m.
Treasure Gold broke slowest of 13 runners from gate seven at 28-1 odds for Greg Cheyne, quickly recovered to settle worse than midfield at the 1,000m, angled five wide at the 300m and kept on nicely for a promising sixth - a stride behind favourite Pretty One and 11/2 lengths in arrears of the winner Able Speed. The three-year-old showed good promise in seven outings in Britain as Royal Exchange for trainer Richard Hannon, chalking up three straight victories at Salisbury and Goodwood up to a mile - including the listed Stonehenge Stakes (1,600m) and placings in the Group Three Somerville Stakes (1,400m) at Newmarket (Rowley) and the Silver Tankard Stakes (1,604m) at Pontefract.
Like Speechmaker, he is a son of Royal Applause and the Grand Lodge mare Diamond Lodge, who was successful four times over 1,600m to 1,800m.
Treasure Gold appeared from his trials to be in need of the outing, but should come out a much fitter specimen for his next engagement.
Others to note are: Owain, Dalkan and Iron Eagle.
The Michael Chang-trained Speechmaker was sent out at massive odds on Sunday: 95-1