The Golden Age has made a name for himself as a front-runner in Hong Kong but he might have to change tack in Saturday’s Class One Hong Kong Macau Trophy at Sha Tin.
Tony Cruz’s four-year-old came fifth in the Hong Kong Derby over 2,000m last start, third in the Classic Cup over 1,800m, with wins over both that trip and 1,650m in his first two runs of the season.
He drops back to 1,400m for this event and leading might not be an option with the likes of Calculation and Marvel Tribe also go-forward runners.
“Coming back to 1,400m isn’t ideal but there aren’t many options for a horse like him with a rating over 100, there just wasn’t anything appropriate other than this race,” Cruz said.
“The next possible race after this is the Group Three over 1,600m next month. We’ll go there, but I think he needed a race before and this fit in well.
“He did win over seven furlongs in France and he did come from behind in those races. I don’t think he’s simply a front-runner who needs 1,800m, I think he’s more versatile and races like this are where he can show it.
“Hopefully he’s able to be competitive over 1,400m and it opens up more opportunities for him.”
Tommy Berry jumps aboard for the first time and has a big opinion of the gelding.
“I’ve obviously seen plenty of him but I went through and watched all of his replays last night,” Berry said.
“It’s a big call but I think he’s one of the most consistent horses in Hong Kong, he just keeps stepping up and he’ll always run his race. His trials have been good and he looks to have freshened up well. Even if he doesn’t win here, I am confident he has another win in him before the end of the season.”
Cruz saddles up three of the runners in the Class One with Romantic Touch (Douglas Whyte) out to collect the HK$1 million bonus if he can complete the interport series double after winning at Taipa in March.
“This has been the target all season, to try and win both races and the bonus,” Cruz said.
“He’s better with a bit of give in the ground so rain won’t hurt him. The bonus would be very nice and he is honest, he’s not without a chance.”
His third runner is California Whip (Neil Callan), who has proved a challenge for the trainer.
“I think he’s just a sprinter now and 1,400m is his maximum, it might even be his best trip even though he hasn’t won over that distance here,” Cruz said.
“I’m not sure, though, he’s still a bit of a puzzle. He’ll be somewhere near the lead and hopefully he’ll stick on to be right in the money.”