Australian trainer John Moore's stable is in cracking form and Intuition can keep the run going by winning the fourth event at Sha Tin today. Intuition had to play second fiddle to American Way at his last start when he was very much in public demand, but he did not really lose any admirers in that defeat. Moore's decision to aim Intuition for 1,400 metres is an interesting one, but it could turn out, at this stage, to be the optimum trip for the American-bred four-year-old. He was run down by American Way last time, but stuck to the task to finish a game second while, over a Happy Valley mile at a previous start, he did not seem to get the trip. The last-start defeat was over the longer Sha Tin sprint so it may well be that the in-between distance is what he is after. Moore has called on the services of Mick Kinane, who aided Intuition's defeat last time by partnering American Way, and the Irishman was aboard for an Intuition success last season.
As Intuition also finished second over 1,400 metres in his first season, it does seem fair to suggest that he finally gets conditions completely in his favour today. There may be a quibble over the outside barrier (11), but Kinane can be expected to overcome that and the natural pace of Intuition should allow him to take up a reasonable position before they have gone too far.
With two second placings to his name at his past two outings, it is certainly time for Intuition to go one better and there will be considerable support to suggest that today is the day. Wendyll Woods, who rode Intuition last time, is aboard retaining trainer Lawrie Fownes' Satisfaction Smile, who is blinkered for the first time. He has been significantly supported at his past two runs over today's trip and 1,600 metres and ran fairly on both occasions, although more was probably expected than the fifth places he achieved on both occasions. There is ample evidence of how dramatic the application of blinkers for the first time can be and it would be wise to keep Satisfaction Smile safe.
Last year's promising griffin, Shaxi Treasure, woke up with a vengeance last time under Cash Asmussen to score a solid win over 1,200 metres on International Day. Trainer Wylie Wong has some good young horses in his care and has taken time in planning their runs. Shaxi Treasure has been promoted on the strength of that dramatic success, but Wong has now found a suitable 1,400-metre event for him. And that could be a telling factor as the longer sprint last time looked a trifle on the short side.
Asmussen got the winner up in the final couple of strides for a most exciting victory. Excellent English rider Kevin Darley takes over today and, in a race where there do not look to be that many chances, he has very solid claims. Topweight Knight Commander has hopes on a previous effort over the longer sprint under Larry Cassidy, but he has not quite lived up to that run in his recent outings.
Having raced over the longer sprint twice and then a mile, trainer Alex Wong Siu-tan is hoping that the 1,400 metres will work in his favour.
There is not much else in the field to enthuse over as the remainder tend to have overriding convictions or are out of form.
Certainly, Intuition has not had a better chance of success so far this season.