The John Size-trained Beat The Clock hasn’t been seen for a while but the promising three-year-old could easily have just been waiting for the Hong Kong University Alumni Association Challenge Cup (1,400m) at Sha Tin on Sunday.
With three wins and four placings from his seven starts, Beat The Clock (Joao Moreira) has already done a great job since he commenced his career early in the season in Class Four as an unraced horse.
He led throughout from a wide draw over this distance on debut and his other win over the trip came in Class Three in January, when he had the speedy Shamal to sit behind in running then put him to the sword in a most impressive display.
Beat The Clock was subsequently criminally unlucky in a slowly run race where nothing went right then tied off his mid-season splurge with a drop back to 1,200m and another Class Three win in March.
But Class Three is Class Three and Class Two is where a horse really gets sorted out as a contender or a pretender and Size is leery about running three-year-olds in Class Two too soon for that reason.
With Beat The Clock, his solution was to give the horse a break to let the youngster grow and develop so his physique might match his rating when he lined up against some talented older horses, and that’s where he finds himself on Sunday.
It’s not a pushover either but he gets a race setup just like the one he had in January when he had Shamal to follow, and is a worthy favourite.
This time, it will be the very quick 1,000m specialist Adventurer (Jack Wong Ho-nam) who will take up the running and Moreira will want to park behind him in second place and allow Beat The Clock to relax.
If Beat The Clock is fully screwed down at his first run for three months, then he should take over soon after straightening and take the win.
The danger of course is that he is a little bit rusty and vulnerable against horses which have recent racing under the belt and are a better grade than those he has previously met.
His main dangers look twofold.
Lucky Ever (Callan Murray) is coming off a strong-finishing 1,200m effort and looking suited by 1,400m and a low draw and he has a claim.
Limitless (Zac Purton) has his first run for Caspar Fownes after showing good talent in the lead up to the Derby and looks well graded in Class Two but he will give a start and has had issues with over-racing – if Fownes has ironed that out, then Beat the Clock will have a contest on his hands.