Punters will know their fate early in the feature on Sunday as the start will be the key for Joao Moreira and Regency Bo Bo in the CUHK Alumni Cup (1,400m) at Sha Tin.
The Tony Cruz-trained three-year-old has left no doubt that he is a horse with some talent in a fairly brief career so far, winning twice and finishing second three times in just seven runs, including chasing home horses like Seasons Bloom and Nothingilikemore.
If he bounces out of the gates and can be where Moreira wants him, then Regency Bo Bo looks the horse they will have to beat, but his starts are a concern.
Even in his wins, Regency Bo Bo wasn’t fast to begin but got away with it against slightly lesser opposition, the first time running on too strongly from well back and the other having to be used a little to find his position but boxing on too well.
But, as he rises in the handicaps, those flaws are exposed and winning gets tough if he makes mistakes.
That was the case in his latest appearance, finishing seventh to Nothingilikemore after throwing away his chance with a terrible start. In fact, to finish halfway through the field was an above average performance after that jump.
Moreira gets his first turn at Regency Bo Bo and the Magic Man will be looking to get the gelding out quickly to take a forward spot in what looks to a be slowly run race.
The Richard Gibson-trained Kingsfield was an established front-runner in Australia and has been a frequent leader in blinkers here and looks to have the lead to himself if he wants it. His blinkers come off today, which may help him relax in the lead instead of pulling and rider Derek Leung Ka-chun will be trying to keep the tempo just comfortable.
If Regency Bo Bo behaves at the gates, ideally he would push forward into the first three or four in the moderate tempo, and should be too good from there.
The leader Kingsfield does look a danger if he can roll more kindly in front without the blinkers – he battled on pretty well to finish fourth last time when the set-up suited run-on horses better than leaders. With a more relaxed lead, he will be stronger at the business end today.
Why Why (Zac Purton) is also a potential danger at only his third run for Almond Lee. He showed improvement last time and is well rated on his old form. His wide draw is problematical but perhaps Purton will be more positive on him with the prospect of a slow pace.