High-Loft has some of the family soundness issues but he also has some of the good genes as well and he showed it with a convincing debut victory up the straight for Olivier Doleuze to open proceedings yesterday.
Three seasons ago, his half-brother Great Supreme was produced by Dennis Yip Chor-hong for an impressive debut win over 1,400m and he looked a young horse heading high into the grades, but knee injuries soon overtook him and he was unable to fulfil that promise - winless in another 10 starts before retirement 18 months later. Hopefully trainer Michael Chang Chun-wai and the connections of High-Loft will have better luck with High-Loft, who held off Wind Damper and China Good to take the Beijing Clubhouse Handicap, though the three-year-old's vet record shows that there have already been tendon and foot problems which have held back his racecourse appearance until now.
'It was not a strong race today but you still have to win them and the second and third horses have had a lot more experience than him. I think he won just on quality,' Doleuze said. 'He does have a few little issues with him so it is good that he can get a win late in the season and Michael can just give him a break now and that will help him.'
Doleuze said drawing low in barrier three - usually considered a disadvantage - had looked a positive to him before the race.
'When I saw the gate I was happy. If I drew outside, I would have to ride him differently and I wanted him to have some room and not have to bustle him,' Doleuze explained.
'He's a nice coming horse but very green and it suited him being out where he was and he gave me a good finish.'
High-Loft's win gave Chang his 23rd win for the season, equalling his personal best tally from the 2009-10 term.