A big weight swing against a key rival makes Rise High the one to beat in Sunday’s Class One Sha Tin Mile Trophy.
The Caspar Fownes-trained four-year-old looks a rising star after two impressive victories and while this is his toughest test to date, he looks up to the challenge.
In his most recent effort, he defeated Doctor Geoff by a neck and the two clash again here, but Rise High actually meets him 10 pounds better.
The quirk comes about for two reasons – Doctor Geoff has since come out and won well at Happy Valley and has gone up 12 points in the ratings, while apprentice Jack Wong Ho-nam, who claimed five pounds in that contest on May 20, has been replaced by Joao Moreira in the saddle. It puts things firmly in the favour of Rise High.
While the gelding hasn’t had a start in almost two months, he tuned up for this assignment with a recent barrier trial win.
“He has had a little bit of a freshen-up and Caspar felt that the trial would really bring him on. I felt like it probably needed to though and hopefully it has,” jockey Zac Purton said.
The Australian would have been delighted with the outcome of the barrier draw as Rise High should get the perfect run just behind the speed from gate two.
There doesn’t look to be a rusted-on leader, so there might not be much pace, therefore being in a prominent position and ready to pounce could be important and Purton is as good as any jockey at adjusting to the circumstances of a race as it is unfolding.
Given all the advantages he gets, Rise High looks very hard to beat.
Tony Cruz’s Doctor Geoff is the main danger – even with the weight turnaround.
The gelding was absolutely dominant at the Valley, winning by three-and-a-half lengths and he should take plenty of confidence from his first Hong Kong victory.
Interestingly, Purton rode him that day but decided to stick with Rise High here.
Of the others, John Size’s Dinozzo (Sam Clipperton) is generally around the mark and needs to be respected, while the same could be said for Romantic Touch (Vincent Ho Chak-yiu) and Born In China (Douglas Whyte).