He may be underestimated by many but Tony Cruz-trained Blazing Speed has a proven record at the top end and the weapons he needs to prevail in a fascinating Longines Jockey Club Cup, 2,000m at Sha Tin on Sunday.
What stands out about this race is how difficult it is to predict the pace and positioning of many of the runners but there is no mystery to Blazing Speed (Neil Callan).
The seven-year-old does his best when he can park handy to the speed with a trail and switch off, and the speed of the race is secondary to those requirements but the muddling tempo we’ll probably see has done him no harm before.
It was just that kind of set up that led to his QE II Cup win, a soft tempo to the 500m where Callan brought Blazing Speed out and sent him after the leaders, knowing his strong kick and unquestionable courage in a finish was going to make him tough to catch. He should be fitter for his run in the Sha Tin Trophy and Blazing Speed is the uncomplicated solution to Sunday’s puzzle.
The most certain early positioning is that Designs On Rome (Karis Teetan) and Secret Weapon (Douglas Whyte) will probably be sitting in the last two spots, Blazing Speed will want a position, but the rest of it you could throw up in the air and it could come down dozens of different ways.
Flame Hero could be part of the speed but he has begun slowly at his two runs this season, and Anticipation has been ridden forward and back at different times and that’s true of several other runners. And what that uncertainty means for Brett Prebble on Eastern Express is that he might well look to get across from the outside but it wouldn’t be any surprise to see more than one rival booting up underneath him – and from the awkward 2,000m start, that would be curtains.
The other fascinating scenario is what happens when they do settle down – slow the pace too much and it sets up for Designs On Rome’s favourite race plan, where he can get around the field cheaply like he did in the Sha Tin Trophy win.
He looks the main danger to Blazing Speed, and they are both a run ahead of Military Attack, resuming after six months off, so the other danger might be Secret Weapon.
He is fit enough and the conditions of this race suit a horse like him who is just short of the top middle distance horses but getting in with the small weight advantage and he should have finished closer behind Horse Of Fortune last time.