The progressive Solar Patch has looked terrific in his first two Hong Kong starts and can continue his good form in the Class Three Racing Club 10th Anniversary Cup (1,400m) at Sha Tin on Sunday.
The John Moore-trained three-year-old saluted on debut, beating subsequent winner Wishful Thinker before finishing second to the highly rated Mission Tycoon last time out.
So the form around Solar Patch stacks up and while both of those runs were over 1,200m, he won over 1,350m in Australia so the step up in trip shouldn’t be a problem.
Also in his favour is the small field – there are only 10 runners – and there is not a lot of depth.
From barrier three, Zac Purton should be able to find a lovely spot midfield, probably one-off the rail, with likely leader Volitation (Joao Moreira) takes up the running.
The pace is not likely to be strong, but it shouldn’t matter, as long as Solar Patch is within striking distance, he can run over the top of them as he possesses the fastest finishing burst of all the runners in the race.
The only real question mark is a three-year-old carrying 131 pounds against older horses, but he was able to handle the challenge last start, only finishing behind another youngster with a lot of promise.
Provided even luck in running, Solar Patch looks the one to beat.
The biggest danger is Danny Shum Chap-shing’s Villa Fionn (Chad Schofield), who caught the eye on debut and should be better for that run.
He finished sixth on that occasion, three-quarters of a lengths behind Solar Patch and now meets him one pound better while the step up to 1,400m should also suit going on his previous form in Australia.
From barrier seven, he is likely to settle behind Solar Patch in the run – or risk being caught wide – and that is his biggest challenge.
Solar Patch ran his final 400m faster than Villa Fionn, so given the way the race is likely to pan out, he will need to make a big improvement to turn the tables.
The Frankie Lor Fu-chuen-trained Volitation is one who has to be considered given he should be able to control the race from the front, while Top Beautiful (Alberto Sanna) and Home Run (Karis Teetan) are capable of running a big race and should go into the multiples.