There was big money around to say that Amazing Race could run well at his Hong Kong debut on Wednesday night and that wasn’t to be, but the gelding did enough to suggest he might be one for the early meetings of next term.
The Caspar Fownes-trained four-year-old put together a nice career in Britain, winning twice and placed another six times from his eight starts under the name Natural Nine.
He showed some versatility too, racing well both left and right handed, on turf and polytrack and all at distances of 1,400 metres or further.
None of that necessarily seemed a pointer to a debut success around the quirky Happy Valley track over 1,000m, one of the more difficult assignments for a first-up appearance coming from that part of the world to this as horses get out and go in a way that Amazing Race might not have struck previously.
Outpaced in the early stages, he drifted well back before making steady progress into seventh behind Moment Of Power, who never looked like losing after finding the front straight off the start.
It was the type of run that his form suggested might be in the offing over the insufficient trip, but it was good enough to suggest that Amazing Race will pay his way, especially once he gets to something longer than the minimum trip.
In any case, having been readied for the end of this season, probably the time to catch him will be at the start of the next one.
Fownes also got a tune out of Manhattan Striker in the opening Class Five at the three-year-old’s first run in the cellar grade.
The figures from the race were generally poor, which explains how Forever Fun was able to race wide and keep on going to win, but Manhattan Striker’s surge late into third was a good indicator that he isn’t far off a win in Class Five.
His runs in Class Four had not been terrible so the better finishing position down a class was not a complete surprise and as a stronger four-year-old in a few months’ time he might even prove more competitive in Class Four too.