There wasn’t a lot that jumped out of the results as a horse to follow at a lacklustre Easter Monday meeting at Sha Tin, but two of the more obvious horses working up to a first local victory are Hair Trigger from John Moore’s yard and the Caspar Fownes-trained Royal Performer.
Neither will come as a surprise when it happens, with each run lately an incremental advance on the previous appearance, and whether they can kick on and string wins together remains to be seen, but each looks ready to get the first one.
The John Moore-trained Hair Trigger looked mauled by the handicapper when he came in on a rating of 80 after an average provincial maiden win in Australia and he appeared to have been over-penalised for placing in a substandard minor stakes race for his own age last September.
So it’s no surprise that the still lightly raced three-year-old is taking time to catch up to his rating but, run by run, Hair Trigger is getting there.
He had no excuses in his fourth to Lucky Guy under close to top weight, but it suggested he is just about ready to put his best foot forward after three runs locally.
If he can win at the top of Class Three, he should be capable of snaring a Class Two under a light weight as well before we sort out whether he is any better than that.
Royal Performer, who is one-year older, probably arrived more palatably handicapped on 74, considering he had won three of five in England but his pattern has been similar to Hair Trigger’s path.
With eight months between his last run overseas and his first here, Royal Performer has doubtless been in need of the racing but he has moved steadily closer to a breakthrough.
On Monday, he came off a fifth to Penang Hall, beaten over three lengths, to beat that horse home on Monday (albeit luckily) and won’t have to improve much on that to win.
A winner up to 1728 metres in the UK, Royal Performer has also only just arrived at the minimum of the distances that should suit him.