Following form out of straight races can be fraught with danger but Sunday’s opening race looked to provide two black bookers from the quinella.
Sight Leader lived up to his trials and reputation and the Chris So Wai-yin-trained three-year-old did a bit wrong on the way to winning but got the job done.
Once again it was Joao Moreira in the saddle and Sight Leader looked fully capable of following in the hoofsteps of his stablemate Bravo Watchman, who has been able to string wins together at his first three starts.
Although Sight Leader does have tactical speed early, the pleasing part of his trials was the pleasing part of his race, too – the final 200m. The gelding looked to have the job ahead but really applied himself late and overhauled the Ricky Yiu Poon-fai-trained Encore Boy near the line.
So is proving adept at using the less complicated straight course for the debuts of his smart youngsters but, like Bravo Watchman, Sight Leader looks like the best will be seen of him when he is ready to go around turns over further.
Still, he’ll be tough to beat again next time if So keeps him on the straight as the handicapper has raised him only seven points and he stays in Class Four.
On the clock, Sight Leader ran faster time and better sectionals than Momentum Lucky winning the Class Three later in the day and that highlights not only the winner’s prospects but those of the runner-up.
Much was expected of Encore Boy when he debuted on Derby day but he was slow to begin and, like many horses at their first appearance, then lost the plot.
Perhaps the soft ground had some role to play as well but, either way, we saw the Encore Boy on Sunday who had been anticipated the first time and he looks well worth following.
He showed good speed to charge across the outside rail but then found a kick at the business end as well, putting four and a half lengths between himself and the third placegetter.
In form terms, that’s as good as an impressive win and he has been lifted only three points for it.