Bear Hero back where he belongs
The gloss might have come off the very talented three-year-old sprinter Bear Hero, but the David Ferraris-trained colt returns to his best arena in the Hong Kong Jockey Club Community Trophy (1,000m) today and that can see him successful again.
Some talented straight course performers are lined up for the day's Class Two feature, with Bear Hero (Weichong Marwing) and Go Baby Go (Douglas Whyte) each unbeaten over the Sha Tin 1,000m in four attempts, and Blaze King (six wins) and California Choice (four wins) also have terrific records at the trip.
When this season opened, Bear Hero was unbeaten from three juvenile outings and looked a likely type to make his way through into the top grade by this stage of the season.
But his campaign opened with a surprise defeat at 1,200m before a disastrous tilt at a Group One three-year-old race in Melbourne in late October, which ended badly when the colt tore off half of a foot at the start and basically took no part.
Ready to go again in December, Bear Hero raced far too keenly over 1,400m at Sha Tin when narrowly beaten by Fionn's Treasure.
Ferraris virtually had to start from scratch and Bear Hero was back to the straight and in winning form when he comfortably took a Class Three in March, but his latest run was another speed bump in the colt's road to the top. In his first look at Happy Valley, under any conditions, Bear Hero drew out and hung out and simply looked uncomfortable all the way around.
It was another performance to be tossed in the bin but now the young sprinter is back to where he's at his most effective, the Sha Tin straight where he beat subsequent Group One winner Eagle Regiment last year, and drawn ideally in the second gate from the outside rail.
Key to the tactics in the race could be the stable change for light-weighted speedster Oriental Prosper.
To date, Oriental Prosper has been a jump-and-run type and, employed the same way, adds some spice to the speed in the race, with Go Baby Go and Blaze King also solid on-pace runners and the three are drawn adjacent to one another.
While Bear Hero has plenty of speed if the circumstances of the race require it, he also has the option from that draw to just sit off the leaders if it is competitive for the front.
And in any case, he gets eight pounds from Go Baby Go which might make the difference when they get down to tin tacks in the late stages of the race.
Go Baby Go is certainly not going to be any pushover. Though his margin was narrow last time over Sir Eagles, it was a fantastic win after he was used earlier than ideal in the middle stages of the race and he had every right to be tiring on the line.
The chance in the race who isn't going to be involved in any speed battle is top-weight California Choice (Brett Prebble). The draw in gate three is very much against him, but the four-year-old has been better held up and running on into his races than when ridden for speed.
Perhaps he isn't out of this race if he can cross over behind the main speed horses and then accelerate into the race in the second half.
David Ferraris virtually had to start from scratch and Bear Hero was back to the straight and in winning form when he comfortably took a Class Three in March
The winning strike rate for David Ferraris and Weichong Marwing so far this season