Go Baby Go has likely run out of races for season
There was no talk of Royal Ascot after the Dennis Yip Chor-hong-trained Go Baby Go took the Group Three Bauhinia Sprint Trophy (1,000m) and the victory will just about have ended the season for the five-year-old.
Momentarily, Yip held joint leadership with John Size in the trainers' championship after Go Baby Go (Tye Angland) notched up his sixth win up the straight course at Sha Tin and lowered the colours of high-profile youngster Amber Sky for the second time this season.
In a carbon copy of Go Baby Go's win in January, Angland had the gelding camped just behind and inside the leader Amber Sky, then got clear late in the piece after a brief dogfight to win by just under a length.
"It was the same game plan - in the small field we drew next to the obvious leader Amber Sky and Straight Gold looked like he would possie up behind the leader," Angland said. "So the idea was to be up with the leader and have Straight Gold pocketed behind him. In the end, Straight Gold didn't perform today so it didn't matter. My horse travelled well and I was happy for most of the race until the jockey pressed the button on Amber Sky. He quickened up pretty good and I was worried for a few strides I wouldn't be able to pick him up."
But Angland got to work on Go Baby Go and the gelding gradually got the better of the leader as they drew clear of their rivals, with Vital Flyer ultimately edging out favourite Straight Gold for third.
"Once I gave him one with the stick he picked up and found," said Angland.
The last two winners of the race, Sweet Sanette and Little Bridge, had used the Bauhinia as a launching pad for Royal Ascot, where they finished third and first respectively in the King's Stand Stakes.
But Sweet Sanette had carried a 113 rating into the Bauhinia Sprint in 2011 and Little Bridge a 122 assessment last year, in contrast to Go Baby Go's humbler 100 rating prior to yesterday's win.
Still, the penalty for winning will leave the gelding with, perhaps, only one assignment left this season or perhaps none. In the past two seasons, the single option left from this point for a straight-course sprinter of his level would have been an extended band 105-80 run in either May/June and if he goes up six points for the win, even that is gone.
"Go Baby Go has been very consistent over the straight course and that's where I want to keep him focused," said Yip. "He has done a tremendously good job and he deserves a break now anyway."
The winning percentage for Angland will wipe away the HK$5,000 fine he copped for returning from his Dubai mission with Al Quoz Sprint runner-up Joy And Fun a pound or two heavier than expected and having to stand down from two of his booked rides yesterday.