Extra distance to suit Delta Hedge
Delta Hedge has already shown he handles Happy Valley well and the lightly raced gelding returns tonight with the Volunteers' Challenge Cup (1,800m) in his sights.
The John Size-trained four-year-old is on the improve, looking solid winning over 1,650m at the Valley two runs back at his second start, before he dropped back in distance at Sha Tin last time to 1,400m and was just collared on the line by a handy horse in Winning Apex.
Delta Hedge (Douglas Whyte) only took four starts in New Zealand to win his maiden and did so emphatically, strolling home by more than five lengths over 1,600m in soft going.
Although tonight will see him stretch out to 1,800m for the first time, Delta Hedge has looked strong at the finish over a mile and this trip shouldn't trouble him.
From gate four, Whyte can put Delta Hedge wherever he is comfortable, likely just off the speed, regardless of the tempo, which is something of a query. Lightweight Jun Hua generally presses forward in his races and so do Hollywood Kiss (Ben So Tik-hung), Public Figure, Ho Wongchoy and Let's Goal, but even having five forward runners is no guarantee of pace unless two or more are going to lock horns for the front. None has been a leader at all costs but we can probably assume a worthwhile speed.
Acclimatisation to Hong Kong can take its time for many European horses and Indigo Way (Alex Lai Hoi-wing) showed little in his first six runs here, but the British import caught the eye last time out in a significantly improved effort and looks a danger.
Dropping to Class Four for his first Happy Valley run, Indigo Way was a 100-1 chance behind Viva Guy over 1,650m, but he was finding the line strongly in the last 150m to be beaten just over two lengths by the winner despite finishing seventh.
A winner at Newmarket over 2,000m as a two-year-old, Indigo Way will appreciate the extra distance and, although back up to Class Three, he drops sharply again in the weights.