Gerald Mosse claims Little Bridge still has room to improve after he booked a return tilt at the Hong Kong Sprint with a dominant win in the Jockey Club Sprint.
Little Bridge lowered the boom on odds-on favourite Entrapment and proved he was the equal of any of what looks a wide-open group of sprinters with the three-quarter-length victory.
Mosse was having his first ride on the Danny Shum Chap-shing-trained five-year-old and replaced Zac Purton in the saddle, who committed to champion sprinter Sacred Kingdom for International Day.
'The way he ran, he will be a solid competitor in the big race,' Mosse said. 'He will be right up to it, because he won very easy today. I don't want to make everybody too excited, but he made me very happy.
'This horse is still young and coming up.'
Little Bridge suffered his first defeat, at his sixth start, in this race last year when he was a half-length third behind dead-heaters Rocket Man and One World.
He then backed up with a respectable eighth in the Hong Kong Sprint after missing the start. Shum then stretched the gelding to an ill-fated Derby campaign, which resulted in a 45-length last in the prestigious event.
It could have hurt the horse long term, but after three solid return runs, and now this victory, it appears he has reclaimed his best.
'I gave him a good, long break, I sent him to Beas River and gave him a good spell,' Shum (pictured) said.
Last start Little Bridge was used up early to sit outside the speed and was nabbed on the line by fast-finishing long-shot Rich Unicorn. He did hold off Entrapment that day though, who suffered his first defeat. Most felt a six-pound weight turnaround in favour of Entrapment would see him return to the winner's list, but Little Bridge proved to have his measure again, with a better draw playing a hand.
The consensus from trainers was that there wasn't anything between the domestic runners for next month's Group One and that barrier draws and luck in running would determine the winner.
Sacred Kingdom was absent yesterday, as was Caspar Fownes-trained pair Lucky Nine and Green Birdie.
'Other than the Hong Kong horses and Rocket Man - I don't think it's a very hot race,' Shum said.
Fownes was happy his pair - who haven't raced since contesting two sprints in Japan early in the season - didn't go around.
'I was glad to watch the contenders,' he said. 'There's nothing between them. It will just come down to who gets a barrier and a decent run.'
Size agreed and maintained Entrapment had held his form.
'The placegetters look like they're very evenly matched, it's whoever gets the right run,' he said.
John Moore's Admiration was third and would seem on the cusp of gaining a start in the feature.
'He was a 105-rater mixing it with the big boys for the first time,' said Moore. 'Whether he gets a run or not, I don't know.'