David Ferraris has unearthed a smart one in Holy Mac, who looks to be heading in the right direction.
The gelding may have arrived with a mediocre form (one win from seven starts) from England when trained by Andrew Balding, but the way he trialled and worked, and the way he closed off on Sunday at Sha Tin in the Class Three Heung Yee Kok Handicap (1,200m), indicated the four-year-old is here for serious business.
He jumped unnoticed in the betting at 135-1 for Tim Clark. He was allowed to find his legs after breaking from gate six, shifted outside Smart Guy at the 600m, cornered in four deep and was staying on strongly to finish an eye-catching 11/2-length fifth behind upset winner Racing Reward - knocking out a final 400m in a respectable 23 seconds on the good ground.
He is an American-bred son of grey stallion Tapit, who is unknown in these parts, a descendant of great racehorse and stallion AP Indy and a triple winner at 1,600m to 1,800m on the dirt from six outings, including the 2004 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct and 2003 Laurel Futurity at Laurel Park.
His dam, Copelan mare Twist A Lime won four races and was nine-times placed as a sprinter, including two at stakes level. Twist A Lime has produced four other winners, including Speed Gun (by Demaloot Demashoot), a five-time winner in Canada, and Citrus Star (by Broken Vow), a winner of three from 1,000m to 1,400m in the UK and third in the Listed Doncaster Stakes.
Living up to his pedigree, Holy Mac should perform well on both surfaces and can be a major player in middle-distance races.
Others to note are - Sunshine Day, Ice Fire and Deep Thinker.