While Singapore Sling was making his case as a 2018 Derby hopeful on Wednesday night in the final race, the John Size-trained Insayshable was taking the first step along the same path in third place.
Performances in Class Two are the starting point for the superior form when we get to the four-year-old races and Singapore Sling showed the benefit of his first outing when he won second-up in good style.
Not a lot had gone right in the race he ran behind Pingwu Spark at Sha Tin, when a slowing speed on the circle packed the field up and Singapore Sling was pushed off the track. With a kinder passage and the added fitness from that race, Singapore Sling converted that to a win on Wednesday and Size will be hoping for similar progress from Insayshable.
He didn’t exactly have the best of the trip on Wednesday night, at least not when it mattered from the 600m onwards. Joao Moreira had Insayshable in a great spot most of the way, three-back along the fence, but when Marvel Tribe in front of him started to struggle, there was nowhere to go.
It was #HKDerby aspirant and former South African galloper Singapore Sling winning the last under @TommyBerry21. It was just his second start in Hong Kong. Racing resumes on 1/1 at Sha Tin! pic.twitter.com/XnOWXQMqKW— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) December 27, 2017
As the leader Beauty Prince skipped away on the rail, the winner was able to get into the race coming around the outside in the clear, but Insayshable wasn’t able to take either route.
Moreira simply had to grin and bear it until a run opened up on the inside of Marvel Tribe and then Insayshable closed the race off well to be beaten only three quarters of a length. He got clear around about the same moment that Singapore Sling was going past him, so the winner had plenty of momentum up and Insayshable had yet to get into his full stride.
Time will tell if Insayshable has the quality to win the Derby in a year where the field of talent looks very solid but he shapes like a real stayer, who will probably find 1,650m as short a race as he ever wants.
Expect Size to stretch him out in distance quite quickly and he only has to make a little improvement for that next attempt to be a win.