Nash Rawiller believes the key to Fantastic Show’s chances in the Class Four Chengdu Handicap at Sha Tin could be determined when the gates crash open.
The Me Tsui Yu-sak-trained three-year-old showed he has some ability with a maiden victory late last season, but steps out of griffin company on Sunday, tackling the older horses for the first time.
Fantastic Show has drawn the inside alley for the 1,200m contest but Rawiller hopes that isn’t a negative because he thinks he still has plenty to learn after riding him in a hit-out on Thursday morning.
“Although he had that experience last year, it still feels like he’s learning his craft a little bit,” Rawiller said.
“He’s drawn perfectly in one but to me, jumping out the other morning, he was a bit slow out and a bit awkward of the gates and it takes him 100 yards to find his feet.
“Hopefully that’s not the case and he can take up a more prominent position and travel well. How he finished his work off late, he’s certainly a chance.”
The Australian rider will partner another lightly raced type in Danny Shum Chap-shing’s Good Days in the Class Four Nanjing Handicap (1,400m) and was pleased with his debut performance on the opening day of the season.
Good Days found HK$10.5 million purchase Household King too strong on that occasion, but still hit the line nicely to finish third.
“It was an excellent run,” Rawiller said. “I had to give him a chance from a wide draw and he settled in the back half of the field and basically let him come into it as he wound up naturally. Coming to the 300m I felt we were a real big chance of winning but obviously ran into a pretty smart one.
“I really like the way this horse finished the race off and he gives you the indication he’ll only improve from that run.
“The 1,400m will be no problem for him, if anything it will be advantageous. The quicker they go, the better it will suit him, he will be strong at the end of it.”
One of the features of the day is the Group Three National Day Cup (1,000m) but jockey Brett Prebble isn’t quite sure how last year’s winner Amazing Kids is travelling 12 months on.
“He’s a funny horse, in the morning he doesn’t want to do anything and in his trials he’s very disinterested in the all-weather track – he’s really a racehorse,” Prebble said.
“He’s always given me the impression he’s a high-class sprinter.”
Amazing Kids, from the John Size stable, is undefeated in two starts down the Sha Tin straight, with his other success coming in the Group Three Bauhinia Sprint Trophy in January.
Prebble believes that was even better than his first 1,000m victory.
“It was really impressive, he showed his true ability and if he brings anywhere near that form on the weekend, he’ll be winning,” he said.