Voile Rouge will be hard to beat over longer trips
Trainer John Size failed to add to his opening-day win at Sha Tin with three starters at Happy Valley on Wednesday night, but is still likely to have come out of the meeting in good spirits about the future prospects of Voile Rouge.
The five-year-old had only one prior run in Hong Kong when coming home a non-threatening ninth as a 45-1 shot behind Easy Winner over 1,200m at the final meeting. He had excuses as Brett Doyle injured his foot soon after the start when Voile Rouge came into heavy contact with Best Fit.
On this occasion, Voile Rouge drew the services of Douglas Whyte and was in the market as a 9-1 choice in the Class Two Big Wave Bay Handicap (1,200m).
Unfortunately for Voile Rouge, he copped a bump by London China Town soon after breaking from gate eight and was last at one point. He was niggled to stay in touch at the 600m, straightened in restricted room, found a gap approaching the 200m and got going over the final 100m to come up a two-length sixth behind Flying Colours.
Size appears to be trying to educate the gelding over the sprints at Happy Valley and we will certainly see the best from the son of Encosta De Lago and the Desert Sun mare La Bella Dama when he is unleashed over a longer trip. La Bella Dama was a Group One winner of the weight-for-age LKS Mackinnon Stakes (2,000m) among her seven victories.
Voile Rouge was under the guidance of former Hong Kong trainer David Hayes in Australia - notching three wins over 1,125m at Geelong, 1,200m at Moonee Valley and a Flemington handicap over 1,400m from 16 starts. He was also placed on six occasions, including a Listed third in the Durbridge Stakes at Morphetville and second in the Group Three Carlyon Cup at Caulfield over 1,600m.
Size has had a good time campaigning runners in the red and blue stripes of Sanjeev Tikam Mahtani - winning six times with Holi Ravioli and preparing promising John Dory for a victory last season, and the 92-rated Voile Rouge will be adding his name to the that honour roll soon.
Elsewhere, Tony Cruz has turned the career of Mega Champion around following a nice effort to take third in the Class Four Repulse Bay Handicap (1,200m).
Mega Champion was never better than seventh in seven outings for Almond Lee last season, but Cruz has improved the three-year-old mentally and physically during the summer. Weighing in at 1,041 pounds and sporting a tongue tie with the side-winkers removed, Mega Champion was rated nicely behind midfield, switched into the clear four deep passing the 300m and ran on well to come up a distant third behind Chater Power and a neck behind Team Work.
Racing in the popular silks of Eddie Wong Ming-chak, colours made famous by the past sprint sensation Absolute Champion, the British-bred son of Compton Place and the Distant View mare Noble View will be able to head higher off his mark of 45.