Australian jockey Tye Angland gets his best chance yet at a Group One victory after Go Baby Go came out on top in the first contest that matters - the barrier draw for the HK$6 million Kent & Curwen Centenary Sprint Cup (1,000m).
Inside draws have been something of a disadvantage for several seasons but this term seems to have produced a new level of bias to horses against the outside rail, but it isn't something Angland has had to lie awake worrying about because that's where Go Baby Go will start.
From the 10 draw in a field of 10, Dennis Yip Chor-hong-trained Go Baby Go has terrific gate speed to put himself in the picture from the start. Amber Sky (Joao Moreira) looks sure to come out humming from barrier six and look for the front, from where he has scored his five successes, but Angland has the horsepower to stay in touch with Amber Sky and even put the pressure on him a fair way out.
That was a tactic Angland employed twice before when opposed to Amber Sky and the younger horse finished behind him both times, albeit in one with some internal bleeding issues.
As Go Baby Go has shown himself able to cope well with 1,200 metres, he has claims to being the stronger horse, yet he has the speed to match Amber Sky's major weapon, sheer pace.
Yip looked after Go Baby Go well in his early days, not starting him off until his four-year-old season, then not overtaxing the horse with much racing even then.
As a result, Go Baby Go has continued to improve through last season and into this one to have himself established now amongst the better sprint horses, especially up the straight, where he has won seven of 10 appearances. If Go Baby Go and Amber Sky did get into a chest-bumping duel up front, the surprise packet of the race could be another recent bloomer, Charles The Great (Douglas Whyte).
Charles The Great was once considered a Happy Valley 1,000m specialist but has earned his stripes as a legitimate big-sprint contender at Sha Tin with two Group wins in the past six months.
He won't have the pace to be with the lead here but his five draw maps him in a decent trailing spot behind the speed horses drawn outside him and he should be finishing off strongly.
Charles The Great showed himself well up to the competition earlier this season when third to Go Baby Go and Frederick Engels in the Sha Tin Sprint Trophy over the same course, and he does have a third placing to Amber Sky last season over the trip when he conceded the winner 13 pounds.