Exciting sprinter D B Pin looks the clear standout at Sha Tin on Sunday as the John Size-trained rising star steps up in trip chasing four straight wins in the Kwong Wah Handicap.
D B Pin’s season got off to a false start, literally, when the infamous “Rakegate” barrier malfunction robbed him of the chance to collect a maiden win at Happy Valley back in October.
Size’s horse “won” the voided race, easily, and since then has been impressive with three straight victories, one at the Valley over 1,000m, and then two tidy efforts up the Sha Tin straight.
The four-year-old now steps up to 1,200m for the first time this season and for the first time since being beaten at the trip on the final day of last term as 2.1 favourite.
That performance, where the then three-year-old carried 130 pounds against older horses, wasn’t anything to hang the son of Darci Brahma on with respect to distance queries.
In fact, it was full of merit, and even if it seemed stamina was the deciding issue, D B Pin (Zac Purton) returns to the course and distance a tougher, more seasoned competitor.
D B Pin looked to have the race in the bag when he drew a clear margin on Multimax in the closing stages and it was only inexperience that saw the gelding throw it away late when the winner fought back on his inside to win by a short-head.
Now D B Pin returns to the course and distance in a 90-70 ratings band Class Two, drawn barrier one and likely to start a clear favourite again despite a hefty rise in the ratings.
D B Pin jumps 12 points for the last start win and has gone up 28 in total this season, but it still seems the gelding has another gear to spare.
On Sunday, it will have been a month since D B Pin’s last start, a nice break for a horse that strung together his three wins in rather rapid succession.
Another boost for D B Pin is Water Diviner (Nash Rawiller) drawing barrier 13, with the Francis Lui Kin-wai-trained four-year-old otherwise looking the main threat.
Water Diviner’s backers will not only have to put the barrier aside, but a slightly worrying recent trial where the gelding was tailed off and went to the line untested.
Still, Water Diviner has won two-from-two since arriving from Australia, claiming the high-profile scalp of Jing Jing Win on international day and looks well placed at the weights.
The narrow nature of Water Diviner’s wins have protected him at the handicaps and the import has only gone up 11 ratings points for tough efforts that were much better than the margins indicated.
Size has another horse dealing with what looks a severe jump in ratings when House Of Fun heads out in the Waterloo Handicap having jumped 14 points into the bottom of Class Two.
House Of Fun seemed well exposed after a fourth when given every chance on international day, but a five-and-three-quarter length win against limited opposition saw the gelding hammered by the handicapper.
The new rating of 81 will be put to the test when House Of Fun (Joao Moreira) carries 129 pounds in an extended ratings band (85-60) Class Three in which seven of the 14 runners sit between 80 and 85 in the ratings.
David Hall’s Super Turbo (Brett Prebble) is the one to beat but this is a tough contest with last start course and distance winner Jolly Jolly (Sam Clipperton) also looking in very good form.
The race also contains a couple of four-year-old imports making their first local appearances, both needing to press claims if they are to climb up the ratings and into the BMW Hong Kong Derby.
Tony Cruz’s 85-rater Time Warp (Silvestre de Sousa) arrives out of England having raced most recently in France, where he was a two-time Listed winner, and he has looked quite forward in recent trials.
Perhaps needing a little more time is Danny Shum Chap-shing’s High Spirit (Rawiller), rated 82 courtesy of a fourth in the Group Two Queensland Guineas and runner-up in the Group Three Sunshine Coast Guineas at his last two starts.
Meanwhile, the Jockey Club has extended the licenses of de Sousa and Alexis Badel.
Both were meant to finish up after the Lunar New Year meeting on Monday, January 30 but will now remain until the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup/Citi Hong Kong Classic Cup fixture on Sunday, February 26.