The Golden Age has been racing in terrific form this season and can get a much deserved reward in Sunday’s Group Three Lion Rock Trophy (1,600m) at Sha Tin.
Tony Cruz’s four-year-old won his first two starts of the term and while he hasn’t saluted since then, he continues to race well – finishing second in the Group Three January Cup, third in the Classic Cup and fifth in the Hong Kong Derby.
He put the writing on the wall last start when third to California Whip in the Hong Kong Macau Trophy – his first run since the Derby – and should appreciate the step up in trip.
One of The Golden Age’s biggest assets is his racing style as he takes a lot of luck out of the equation by rolling forward.
Joao Moreira will push forward from barrier six, with the only competition for the lead likely to come from Chris So Wai-yin’s dirt specialist Classic Emperor.
If they don’t cut each other up in front, The Golden Age should give a kick at the top of the straight and prove very hard to run down with just 113 pounds on his back.
His biggest danger looks to be stablemate and 2016 Hong Kong Mile champion Beauty Only, who bounced back to form when winning the Group Two Chairman’s Trophy in April.
Now he is a little longer in the tooth, Neil Callan has been settling the gelding closer in running so he doesn’t have quite as much to do late in the race.
His main challenge is chasing down a bold front-runner like The Golden Age while lumping 130 pounds.
A similar obstacle faces 2015-16 Horse of the Year Werther as he makes his racetrack return after bleeding from both nostrils when second in the Group One Hong Kong Gold Cup in February.
While 1,600m is short of his best distance, he is more than capable of putting in a cheeky run fresh and should be hitting the line hard before he heads off to Japan to compete in the Takarazuka Kinen later this month.