Whyte's navigation will be the key

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 21 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 21 January, 2012, 12:00am


Douglas Whyte's powers of navigation will be tested, but Go Baby Go still looks the one they have to topple in the Pearce Memorial Challenge Cup (1,000m) at Sha Tin today.

The racecourse debut of Go Baby Go was much anticipated and he didn't let anyone down five weeks ago, with a hollow Class Four victory down the same straight course that will be the stage for this afternoon's Class Three feature.

The handicapper was highly impressed by Dennis Yip Chor-hong's young sprinter, hoisting him 13 points in the ratings, but with the rise in grade comes a drop in the weights to balance things up.

Ratings and weights are the least of Go Baby Go's worries, with a complete switch around in barrier draws more of a concern.

Go Baby Go had the use of gate 13 first up, a natural advantage on the straight course on most days, and was able to bounce out and dominate the event against the outside rail from halfway out and won eased down by a big margin.

But the draw has been unkind this time with barrier one the launch pad for the gelding, and that will be the test for Whyte's skills.

Fast horses like Dane Patrol, Stallion Supreme and Vintage Hussler have come up with wider draws and will head the race up from out there, while Go Baby Go will have to work his way across and won't have the luxury of jumping straight into the fray.

Go Baby Go looks to have an abundance of speed to deal with that, but it will mean some added pressure on the four-year-old in the early and middle stages and throws up the question of whether he will have the same reserves of energy over the final stages as he had on debut.

Nevertheless, so easy was that win that we have to stick with Go Baby Go, who looks to have some upside while most of his rivals look well-explored.

Straight-track regular Space Race (Matthew Chadwick) looks a danger, drawn more favourably in barrier eight than he was in gates two and three at his latest two solid efforts over the course.

Space Race has been almost foolproof down the straight with nine attempts for two wins and five placings. His career has stalled a little since getting towards the top of Class Three in the ratings, but the Tony Cruz-trained gelding has the speed to stay in touch with the leaders and will race in the right position to make an impact this time.

Caspar Fownes' recent acquisition, Dream Builder (Tye Angland), is an interesting runner coming to the straight course, as he was a straight track winner in the UK.

He caught the eye getting home well at the end of 1,200m on the dirt last week at his first start for the yard, after having to go back early from a wide barrier.

That is rarely a plus on the all-weather course, but he closed off well behind Quantum Power.

Right-handed, Dream Builder has yet to reproduce his overseas form, which was all on straight or left-handed tracks, but the switch to the straight course for the first time may bring improvement.

Red Lucky Star (Zac Purton) has had little luck in his latest straight outings, but he has the disadvantage of gate four to deal with this afternoon.


The penalty Dennis Yip's Go Baby Go copped for his last-start win