John Moore has dodged the big guns by skipping the Hong Kong Classic Cup with Booming Delight but a wide draw has added a degree of difficulty to the import’s chances as he pushes for a place in the BMW Hong Kong Derby.
Booming Delight has won back-to-back races in Class Three to move into Derby calculations with a rating of 89 and is looking like a horse with the scope to go higher.
But with four runners in the Classic Cup already, Moore has opted for what he feels is the softer option of a 2,000m Class Two, an option that didn’t look anywhere as easy after Booming Delight drew barrier 10.
Even though Booming Delight has been presented with gates one and two at his last two starts jockey Sam Clipperton believes the gelding is adaptable enough to handle this new challenge as he steps up to 2,000m for the first time.
“He is pretty versatile, and maybe at the 2,000m we will ride him a bit quieter, which we may have done anyway just to make sure he runs the trip,” Clipperton said. “But we need to have a close look at the race as it just depends on how fast they go. Still, wherever we put him he will show a good turn of foot.”
Race tempo is a big question mark tactically for all jockeys as they jump from one of the trickiest starting points in Hong Kong racing.
A couple of noted on-pace runners from the Tony Cruz stable, Helene Super Star and Anticipation are likely to roll forward but are no guarantee to set a solid clip, and there looks a lack of obvious pace elsewhere.
One possibility is that Chad Schofield pushes on with Raghu to avoid being stuck wide from an awkward draw or that a mid-race move comes when the field slows down.
While the speed map might not look set in stone, Clipperton is certain the horse has the required class and will settle behind a slow pace if that is what transpires.
“The horse hasn’t put a foot wrong this preparation and he is still in great form. He is going very well and I’m very happy,” he said.
“He did over-race a little bit early on here, but when John rook the blinkers off him he improved and then as his preparation has progressed he has got better with racing as well. He is much more settled and I think he is improving with each start. Let’s hope we can keep the horse’s confidence up, and I still think it will be easier to win in this grade than the Classic Cup.”
Moore has also skipped the Classic Cup with Helene Charisma (Douglas Whyte) and Let Us Win (Tommy Berry), with owners hoping their expensive imports can put Derby preparations back on track.
Helene Charisma was a Group One winner in France over 2,400m and put in an eye-catching run in the Hong Kong Classic Mile but was terrible last start when seventh as 2.3 favourite in the Group Three Centenary Vase.
Let Us Win seemed to be building momentum at the end of a mile last start but Joao Moreira failed to find clear running and ended up ninth.