Entrapment ready to show his true form, warns Size
A first defeat for Entrapment in the Premier Bowl last start might have dented the confidence of some supporters, but trainer John Size appears more relieved than burdened with doubt going into the Group Two Cathay Pacific Jockey Club Sprint (1,200m) at Sunday's international prelude meeting.
There were arguments for and against whether Entrapment was unlucky behind stablemate Rich Unicorn second-up from the well-publicised mystery leg issue that kept him out of racing for over a year, and Size felt on the day there were extenuating circumstances.
What he was certain about, however, was Entrapment had at least held his form from winning first-up and this week he has been just as assured as the gelding lines up again as a solid favourite to win the dress rehearsal for the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sprint next month.
'He's fine - still the same and doing everything normally, as he has done for a few months,' Size said. 'And I think Entrapment will do one of two things on Sunday: he'll run the same race again or he will improve, there's no reason to think he won't produce his form.'
There was a school of thought Entrapment might have been a touch flat at his second run from a long break, but that same line of thought would suggest Entrapment will be on the upgrade now that bogey run is behind him.
'This is his third run back, and there is plenty of opinion to say that the best performance is the fourth run after a break,' Size observed. 'Naturally, the international race will be his fourth so that pattern is what we are hoping for, that he hits a peak on December 11. But, as far as this race is concerned, the set weights mean he has got something on the horses with handicap ratings beneath his, but I'm also convinced he does still have some more improvement in his rating, so it stands him in good stead.'
John Moore has ageing Group One winner Dim Sum conceding weight all around under the terms of the race; last year's Hong Kong Sprint fourth Let Me Fight; and overmatched Final Answer in the race, but he also presents the one interesting rival with some X-factor for Entrapment - well-bred Admiration, raced in the same ownership as Moore's surprise 2008 Hong Kong Sprint winner, Inspiration.
A winner at six of 13 outings, Admiration might have an even better record but for some experimentation with distances last season as a three-year-old.
'I think now I've settled on him being a 1,200-1,400m horse and that's where we will target races,' said Moore. 'We tried the mile because it gives you more options if he gets it, and maybe we'll be forced to go back to the mile at some stage by the programming, but the focus is going to be on sprints.'
Admiration comes off a solid all-weather win last start, despite not enjoying that surface.
'Darren Beadman came back and said Admiration really wasn't at home on the dirt,' Moore said. 'I think he has the makings of a top sprinter so taking on Entrapment on Sunday gives us a chance to see if he is ready to step up to that level yet.'