The Derek Cruz-trained Applause has not had the right opportunity to show his best since he descended to Class Four but has the right draw to improve in the Hong Kong Football Club Centenary Cup at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
The five-year-old’s form line of 11 starts here for one fourth doesn’t read ideally, but Applause (Matthew Chadwick) was a winner of three of his four starts in Australia, so he has his share of ability and it should just be a case of finding the right race.
He was overmatched in his early runs in Class Three when he also didn’t appear to be well acclimatised.
In June, he dropped down in class where he looked better suited but his luck with barrier draws since has not been great, with barrier nine or wider in four of six appearances, and he has only had good barriers in two starts over 1,400m.
One thing about his form in Australia was that Applause was only tried to 1,200m and there is a query about him running any further, but he gets 1,200m here and a low draw on the C+3 rail where that is a big plus.
If Chadwick can position him in midfield, we will see what Applause has got but he did give a preview three runs back, running on well behind California Aspar to finish a length away over Wednesday night’s course.
His danger looks to be Zero Hedge (Umberto Rispoli), who broke through for his second win last start and both have been over 1,000m, but he has always given the impression he should handle 1,200m. His only attempt brought a fourth to Bold Stitch in December and that was sound form for this.
Key for him here is what looks a lack of genuine speed which should allow him to overcome barrier eight and perhaps even allow him to control the pace of the race and give him the best chance to run out the 1,200m strongly.