Fresh is best for Good Words
The Tony Cruz-trained Good Words put the writing on the wall for a big season at the trials and he can carry that through for an upset win in the season's opening feature, the HKSAR Chief Executive's Cup (1,200m) at Sha Tin today.
If one thing has characterised the Chief Executive's Cup in the past, it has been that lighter-weighted up-and-comers have been the horses to beat and Good Words (Derek Leung Ka-chun) fills that bill.
A winner at four of his 10 starts, Good Words has a nice record and is unlucky not to have an even better one, but it was his trial against top line sprinters Lucky Nine and Green Birdie on August 30 that shone a light on him as a gelding still with some upside.
Leading to the home turn, Good Words was allowed to coast down the straight without his rider, Matthew Chadwick, asking the gelding for a proper effort.
The winner, Lucky Nine was being shoved along by Brett Prebble to make sure he got past Good Words but still only ran out the winner by three-quarters of a length, with Green Birdie more than two lengths away.
The times were sound and they just don't trial much better than Good Words did that morning. The other two placegetters in the trial are going to run boldly in the Group Two Centaur Stakes in Japan under set-weight conditions - a more difficult assignment - while Good Words will carry only 115 pounds under handicap conditions at Sha Tin.
His fresh form has always been terrific, winning his only run in Australia easily, second at Happy Valley in fast time over 1,000m in his first start here and scoring over this trip on opening day last season. The trickiest part of this race is how Leung and Chadwick, on stablemate Multiglory, handle a lead tempo that looks theirs for the asking.
Either horse is capable of leading or sitting second but the one scenario neither wants is to be contesting, and perhaps Multiglory, who concedes 12 pounds to Good Words, will prefer to take a rest behind the stablemate.
While he has led in most of his races and his wins, Multiglory was held right back to the field more patiently when he scored his biggest win in May at Group Two level and that kind of tactic might assist his task with plenty of weight on board. Should the pair match motors in front and set the race up for a run-on horse, then Amigo (Eddie Lai Wai-ming) would prove the horse to beat. His fresh form is outstanding, he has no weight and a low draw and he will be running on powerfully.
Nevertheless, even the small field cannot take away from what is a fascinating and wide open feature, in which some kind of case can be made for all of the runners bar Dynamic Blitz - despite his excellent fourth at huge odds in the race a year ago, he is certainly a better horse on the artificial surfaces.