Irish-bred import Hear The Roar was getting the crowd at Happy Valley on their feet when slicing through the field with a bold move for second in the Class Three Sha Tin Handicap (1,800m) on Wednesday night and looks ready to salute the judge.
Hear The Roar had already made a good impression in his debut last month at Sha Tin when working home nicely under the guidance of Maxim Guyon for a promising fifth behind exciting Liberator in the Dyer Handicap (1,800m).
The Sean Woods-trained gelding drifted out to near 8-1 before the jump, but was always going to have his followers when the declarations were printed with Guyon retaining the ride over Amityship, who had been firing on all cylinders with a win and two seconds in three earlier rides for the Frenchman.
He was patiently ridden after leaving from the widest gate, was asked to pick up ground passing the 500m, rounded the final corner six deep, switched inside under a hard left whip at the 200m, was breathing down the neck of the favourite Ho Ho Life at the 100m before peaking on his run 50m out. He clocked the fastest final 400m in 23.20 seconds.
The four-year-old arrived with four starts under his belt from Britain, where he was a second-up winner at Goodwood over a mile and twice second - once over the 1,704m at Epsom and another over the 2,019m on soft ground at Yarmouth.
Hear The Roar is a son of High Chaparral, a high-grade performer with six Group One wins, including the Epsom Derby, Irish Derby, Champion Stakes and two Breeders' Cup Turfs. He has produced five Group One winners since taking up stud duty in 2004. From three local runners, he is responsible for talented Let Me Handle It, a 101-rated winner of four races and a starter in the Mercedes-Benz Classic Cup on Sunday, the mile winner Wo Ai Ninn and the once-placed from two starts Viva Freedom.
From his pedigree, Hear The Roar will only get better with maturity and a step up in distance and, with some Woodman blood on his maternal side, should take to the all-weather track as well. Off a starting mark of 66, this lightly raced fellow has room to head higher with Class Two likely to form a nice base.
John Moore's import Joyful Winner II was another to catch the eye when relishing a step up to a mile for a rallying second behind favourite Upgrading in the Class Three Kwai Chung Handicap.
He was building on a creditable opening performance 20 days back when gradually making ground for a 3 1/4-length eighth behind Good Luck Win over the 1,200m at Sha Tin.
Joyful Winner II opened at a near 25-1 quote before crashing down to 10-1 at the jump under stable jockey Darren Beadman. He was ridden worse than midfield and two deep, spun the final bend six wide and finished off powerfully to gun down Lunar Reflections on the line for second, with a half-length separating him from the winner Upgrading.
A lightly framed son of the sprinter/miler Antonius Pius, who is represented by the winner All Victory from his only other local starter, Joyful Winner II formerly raced under the name of One Good Emperor for trainer John Best and was a mile winner at Newmarket (Rowley) and twice third on the Polytrack from eight British starts.