An advantageous draw and a strong workout on Thursday morning have John Moore bullish about the chances of promising sprinter Magic Legend on Sunday at Sha Tin.
After initially planning to start Magic Legend in the Group One Chairman’s Sprint Prize, Moore elected to take a softer option and have the three-year-old contest a 105-80 ratings band Class Two sprint on the same day.
Magic Legend has drawn near the grandstand rail and a swift gallop on the Sha Tin turf under raceday rider Douglas Whyte has also boosted Moore’s confidence.
“That draw is perfect, we couldn’t be happier, and his work was very impressive,” Moore said after Magic Legend came home in 22.8 seconds under a hold down the back straight. “Douglas was very positive about that work, that was what we wanted from him.”
Magic Legend has won four-from-four since arriving from Australia but Moore is mindful of rushing ahead with a horse not without his quirks.
“After his last win we indicated the Group One could be a target but once we got home and had a look at the programme, this Class One really jumped out at us,” he said. “It means he can progress more gently into Group races. There is the Group Three Sha Tin Vase for him later this month over 1,200m and that will do him for the season.”
A key concern for Magic Legend as he progresses further into his first campaign is how well the lightly framed gelding can hold his condition.
“He is standing up to it really well,” Moore said. “He has done a great job this season and a great find for us. He came to us as a really roguish individual, we couldn’t even get shoes on him without sedating. We’ve also had to iron out a few issues with his racing manners.”
Magic Legend faces a decent test in the Pacific Ocean Handicap, giving two pounds to Racing Supernova (Zac Purton), a Class One winner that has twice been successful over the course and distance.
A challenge could also come from two John Size-trained sprinters down in the weights, with House Of Fun (Joao Moreira) and Premiere (Karis Teetan).
Another Class Two to close the meeting looks an exciting clash and gutsy sprinter New Asia Sunrise should appreciate the seven-pound claim of Jack Wong Ho-nam.
New Asia Sunrise was beaten a head by Western Express last start over the course and distance and although facing some tough rivals again, a similar effort and even luck should have him right in the finish.
Initially allotted top weight of 133 pounds, Wong’s claim means New Asia Sunrise will be getting weight off key dangers My Darling (Moreira) and Momentum Lucky (Purton).
Earlier in the day, Chris So Wai-yin’s three-year-old Sight Leader (Moreira) steps up to 1,200m in the Arctic Ocean Handicap after an impressive debut win last month.
The challenge now is carrying 131 pounds against older horses, although perhaps it is the other three-year-olds in the race that could be the biggest dangers.
Sight Leader is one of eight three-year-olds in the Class Four, a number that includes two debutants and a couple of other promising individuals.
Infinity Endeavour (Teetan) and Multigogo (Kei Chiong Ka-kei) both should attract some market support.
Keep a watch on the David Hall-trained New Zealand import Little Giant (Purton) in the Indian Ocean Handicap.
The four-year-old was set to start one of the favourites in a Class Three back in November when struck down with lameness but has since trialled well and should be relatively forward for this first-up run.