Victory Magic to win his way into Hong Kong Derby after avoiding Classic Cup
John Moore can add another runner for March’s four-year-old feature if blinkers can sharpen up his Class Two contender in the Triple Trio middle leg
John Moore has bypassed the Group One Hong Kong Classic Cup with Victory Magic and, even though he is still a maiden, the Derby-bound import looks a solid banker in a Triple Trio bookended by two competitive Class Four handicaps.
With Moore saddling up leading Classic Cup chance Werther as well as White Magic in the feature race, their stablemate Victory Magic will contest the Class Two Yan Oi Tong Cup over the Hong Kong Derby distance of 2,000m in a lead-up to the big one.
Victory Magic (Douglas Whyte) was a runner-up at Listed and Group Two level in Australia, where he raced as Atmosphere, and after three unplaced runs at the end of last season for Moore has put together another sequence of minor placings this term.
A first-up second to subsequent Group Three winner Secret Weapon, a third to Werther on international day and another runner-up effort behind Sergeant Titanium, who won last weekend, was followed by a second to Brilliant Shine three weekends ago.
The form is stacking up around the fast-finishing efforts and Moore has gone to blinkers, which the son of Savabeel wore in most of his racing down under, in an effort to squeeze an extra length or two out of his charge.
The presence of stablemates Savvy Nature (Gerald Mosse) and Same World should ensure at least an average tempo anyway, but the booking of returning apprentice Kei Chiong Ka-kei on Supreme Profit is a flag that the horses could be sent forward in search of the lead.
A better than average tempo would allow Whyte the luxury of finding a spot behind midfield from gate six, yet with a good chance to be in the finish. In a average-looking 12-horse race, also include Ensuring (Ryan Moore) and Ambitious Champion (Chad Schofield).
In the opening leg, take Paul O’Sullivan-trained Magic Star (Zac Purton) as banker in a 1,400m Class Four.
Magic Star stuck on gamely after a tough run last start, and with any sort of luck he should build on that effort and go close in a race that has a dangerous look about it for TT players.
Include last-start winner Team Sweet (Hugh Bowman), but barrier 14 means he will need some luck and there are plenty of other chances.
Sugar City isn’t going as badly as his form looks on paper and drops 12 pounds on his last run with the help of Chiong’s claim, while Raging Bull (Joao Moreira) might even start close to favourite after coming up with gate one. The other sneaky hope is Courageous Brother (Gerald Mosse), dropping into Class Four for the first time.
The 1,200m final leg is another race containing a number of strong chances, and although Ricky Yiu Poon-fai’s Hammer King (Moreira) is knocking on the door, he faces a tough ask from gate 14.
Good Man (Purton) will also take some beating, but take a punt on Michael Chang Chun-wai’s second-starter Superior Boy (Nash Rawiller) getting the run of the race from gate one and lock him in as banker.
Also consider Formula Galore (Karis Teetan) and Supreme Flight (Silvestre de Sousa).