The similarities between Aerovelocity and Archippus probably start and finish with their attitudes but trainer Paul O’Sullivan is hoping for a surprise from his stable star in Sunday’s Group Three Bauhinia Sprint (1,000m).
Take away the five-time Group One winner Aerovelocity and the Group racing cupboard has been bare at O’Sullivan’s barn since he won a Premier Cup with Aashiq in June, 2012.
“I don’t know if Archippus is the replacement I’m looking for but he definitely deserves a crack at a Group race,” said O’Sullivan.
“He’s a classic stakes money type of runner on Sunday but it is a handicap and you can take a line through Premiere.
“We’ve given him weight and finished just behind him a few times and we meet him similarly now. He’s a won another race since but so have we. If we can finish somewhere around him, hopefully that’s good enough to earn a cheque.”
Archippus has been a fantastic horse for his ownership with nine race wins, victories on all three tracks – Sha Tin turf and dirt and Happy Valley – and he remains an underrated galloper.
He even gave leading sprinter Mr Stunning a momentary scare down the straight one day in Class Two last season.
“One thing about him, he gives you his absolute best all the time – in that way he’s just like Aerovelocity and those kinds of horses do punch above their ability,” O’Sullivan.
“I never dreamed Aerovelocity would get to the heights he got to, I think he punched above his weight. But he made his own luck by taking up a position and then tried his heart out.
“That’s a difference with Archippus because he doesn’t make himself lucky. He probably gets beaten 60 per cent of the time because he isn’t good enough on the day, but there’s probably another 20 per cent that goes down to bad luck because he gets back in the field.”
O’Sullivan’s former apprentice and Group-racing find of the season, Derek Leung Ka-chun, takes the mount in what is the peak 1,000m race in Hong Kong these days, so it is a big task taking on the might of the John Size sprinting team, headed by defending winner Amazing Kids, ably assisted by Premiere and House Of Fun.
John Moore-trained Not Listenin’tome, the 2016 winner, is also there.
“We’ve got a couple of different names in this race, but you look at most of the Group races and it comes down to three trainers,” O’Sullivan said.
“It’s a long way to the top. Even getting a horse to a 100 rating is tough, but then they have to keep going to be a chance in Group races.”