Fears Not Listenin’tome would suffer a drop off in form after his dismal display in Dubai were slightly allayed with a strong trial at Sha Tin – now trainer John Moore just wants to see it on raceday.
Even when a Hong Kong horse performs well on Dubai World Cup night there is a query they can bounce back to their best upon returning, but when a horse is comprehensively beaten, as Not Listenin’tome was on the sand in the Group One Golden Shaheen, the doubts are doubled.
Not Listenin’tome (Derek Leung Ka-chun) finished first in an all-star trial full of top class performers 12 days out from the Group One Chairman’s Sprint Prize.
“That was great and I hope that translates to a big performance on raceday, let’s wait and see,” Moore said.
“It was impressive though. He has been freshened up and all of the headgear was off in the trial, he just had a tongue-tie on. He did have Derek on his back, and he is light so we have to take that into consideration as well.”
Not Listenin’tome finished just ahead of fellow Chairman’s Sprint Prize entrant Peniaphobia in a time of 57.1 seconds and ran home in solid 400 metre splits of 21.3 and 22 seconds.
Not surprisingly, the Group One Champions Mile runners in the trial were less eye-catching matched up against the speedsters.
All-conquering four-year-old Rapper Dragon (Joao Moreira) was scrubbed along in midfield and Helene Paragon (Douglas Whyte) finished at the back.
“That was just typical for Rapper Dragon, he doesn’t do anything he doesn’t have to,” Moore said, adding that Helene Paragon’s trial was a bit more worrying.
“His trial this morning was lacklustre and Dougie said he might have gone over the top. We’ll wait and see how he goes next week.
“We’ll just keep to the routine with him and hope he can produce his best on raceday but judging from his trial he’s a bit flat. The hope is that with 10 days to go we might be able to freshen him up a bit.”
Group One Hong Kong Mile winner Beauty Only was also run off his feet but jockey Zac Purton said the tough six-year-old was on track.
“He was alright, 1,000m isn’t his go, but he finished it off quite nicely,” said Purton.
Group Two Sprint Cup winner Mr Stunning trialled well for Moreira on the dirt, the John Size-trained four-year-old hard held as he blew the cobwebs out.
“He went really well but we know what to expect from him now,” Moreira said.
The morning’s turf trials also revealed some exciting future prospects, including another from the Size production line of unraced talent.
Two-year-old grey gelding Hot King Prawn zipped through his 800m pipe opener in fine style.
Another to impress was the Caspar Fownes-trained import Southern Legend (Moreira), a four-year-old with some top sprint form out of Australia.
Southern Legend won the Listed Darby Munro Stakes as a three-year-old before placing twice at Group Two level this season.