The John Moore-trained Booming Delight was just off the best of his age this season but he might leapfrog some of his peers by winning a Group Three in the Lion Rock Trophy (1,600m) at Sha Tin on Sunday.
The only four-year-olds this season with Group wins on their resume have been Rapper Dragon and Eagle Way but the opportunities have not presented yet for many of the season’s crop and Booming Delight (Sam Clipperton) gets an ideal chance to fix that this afternoon.
He has been a model of consistency this season and finds himself in the Lion Rock Trophy with only 117 pounds after Clipperton rides two pounds overweight, and is placed to win after being somewhat unlucky in Class Two last start.
On a day when a number of leaders won, connections had become obsessed with pressing forward by the time the final race took place and a strong pace was the result.
When Booming Delight began well, Clipperton found several others wanting to bustle up underneath him and he had to push his mount harder to get across so as not to be dictated to by them.
What resulted was Booming Delight being closer than ideal on a fast pace and then, having the measure of those in front of him, he hit the front too soon and was toast when lightweight Keen Venture sailed down the outside late.
It was no fault of Clipperton’s but even he admitted after the race he would have preferred to be a position further back and coming at the leaders 100m later and would have won the race if he could have been.
This race sets up completely differently, with a small field and a lack of real speed.
Short-course sprinter Block Dee (Chad Schofield) looks to have the lead at his mercy if he wants it as he has always shown enough pace at 1,200m to be right with the leaders even in a fast tempo.
Eastern Express (Karis Teetan) was also going too fast outside the lead in the Keen Venture race and will be in the first two or three again and Zac Purton had Romantic Touch back to his old tactics of leading when he won the Macau Hong Kong Trophy last start, so expect he will be handy as well. Booming Delight is the other one in that group of four but he may take the one-out, one-back position trailing the lead instead of getting involved in the pace, then issuing his challenge from the top of the straight.
Eastern Express looks his main danger, as this style of race will suit him much better than last time too, and there isn’t a lot between them on their meeting two starts back when Eastern Express nosed out Booming Delight.