A stunning finishing burst at Happy Valley on Wednesday night shows Pearly Treasure has the tools to be winning a race soon.
The Chris So Wai-yin-trained three-year-old clocked a lightning 22.04 seconds for his final 400m sectional – clearly the fastest of the meeting – when finishing fifth to Oriental Elite in the Class Four Ninepin Group Handicap (1,000m).
Jumping from the outside barrier, Brett Prebble opted to go back to last with speedy types Winfull Patrol and Ocean Roar setting a solid clip up front.
The field had detached into two seconds on the turn, with Pearly Treasure still last and 10 lengths from the lead, leaving him plenty of work to do.
Oriental Elite sprints through strongly under Douglas Whyte to take the third at Happy Valley #HKRacing pic.twitter.com/i7ttj1JSdl— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) June 27, 2018
Given the task in front of him, Prebble decided to ride for luck, picking his way through the field as the gelding unleashed a devastating sprint.
On the line, Pearly Treasure was just a length and three-quarters behind the winner, an exceptional effort given the circumstances of the race.
While a finish like that could suggest he will be better over further, it doesn’t appear to be the case – he might just be a 1,000m specialist.
He came second to boom three-year-old Refined Treasure down the Sha Tin straight in March – the best finish so far in his seven-start career – and he weakened out in his only run over 1,200m.
His sire Charge Forward currently has five sons in training who have had a start in Hong Kong – three of them have won (Baltic Whisper, Complacency and Saul’s Special) – but those wins all came over 1,000m.
Doctor Geoff helps Zac Purton minimise the damage at Happy Valley
Pearly Treasure will continue to improve as he builds strength and gets experience, and if he can draw a gate and settle a little bit closer in running, he should find some success shortly.
Another who put punters on notice at Happy Valley was John Size’s Insayshable.
The four-year-old was having his first run in six months after fracturing one of his hind legs and he looked good, finishing second to Doctor Geoff in the Class Two over 1,800m.
The featured Manawatu Racing Club Challenge Trophy was easily taken by Doctor Geoff and @zpurton. The galloper scored his first Hong Kong victory with this win #HKRacing #HappyWednesdayHK pic.twitter.com/bqObeNlobe— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) June 27, 2018
While he was no match for the winner, he held the others at bay, and is sure to take plenty of improvement from the run.
It was just his second start in Hong Kong (he did win two races in Ireland before making the move) and he looks more than capable of climbing higher in the ratings.