The John Moore-trained Bad Boy looked a potential Group class horse when he struck form towards the back end of last season and the four-year-old gets the right race to break back into the winner’s list in the Lukfook Jewellery Cup (1,000m) at Sha Tin on Saturday.
Life has not been easy for Bad Boy (Sam Clipperton) since the handicapper took a liking to his win down the straight in June, hoisting him 12 points in the ratings before the break.
That put Bad Boy into the toughest spot in Hong Kong racing – carrying top weight in Class Two is no easy task for any horse short of top class – but he has battled manfully in his first two starts back for placings behind Racing Supernova and Adventurer (Joao Moreira) before finding a wide gate and 1,200m just too tough last time.
On Saturday, he comes back to the Sha Tin 1,000m, where he has won two of five, and pits him hard fit and well-drawn against handy opposition but nothing clearly superior.
And his toughest rival, Adventurer has the worst of the weights now for beating Bad Boy last time by just half a length and goes from gate 13 to gate five.
The draw may not be of crucial importance though as these two are clearly the fast horses in the race and will go forward and share the lead and Adventurer has the gate speed and pace to make light work of getting across to the preferred outside section, where these two favourites should race together.
Unless they overdo things on the front – and they have good jockeys to ensure that doesn’t occur – their natural talent for the straight-line speed required for the course should see Bad Boy and Adventurer fight it out and, if Bad Boy is going to make the jump to something richer, he should be able to prevail.
If the leaders do get out of hand and go too fast, then that would open things up and So Fast (Douglas Whyte) looks a potential surprise packet. Not many horses find form in any hurry after leaving John Size but So Fast’s second start for Chris So Wai-yin was eye-catching at Happy Valley. He will be trailing the speed up the outside rail and has the talent to get over the top of them late getting a fair bit of weight from the favourites.
My Little Friend (Olivier Doleuze) is the other potential beneficiary of a good speed. Ignore his flop over 1,400m last time, he is a specialist at this course, has his blinkers back on and will be hitting the line strongly late.