Hong Kong punters potentially had a look into the future last week when the Douglas Whyte-trained Will Power raced away to win on debut at Sha Tin.
The legendary jockey-turned-trainer has long maintained he is excited for what the future holds with his young horses and he will roll another one off the production line at Sha Tin on Saturday.
Inner Flame lines up in the Class Four Ho Sheung Handicap (1,200m) for Whyte after catching the eye in barrier trials this season.
The four-year-old Australian import is one of a host of young horses Whyte has at his disposal who could make him a force to be reckoned with.
While many take time to work out their horses, Whyte has been able to get them firing early this season, and he believes Inner Flame is no different.
“His preparation has been good. He has come a long way, he’s done everything I have asked of him so far so it’s time for him to go to the races now,” he said.
He comes out of a recent barrier trial at Happy Valley where he travelled comfortably on the back of well-performed Class Two sprinters Multimillion and Stronger.
The speedy type was sold to Hong Kong after one impressive barrier trial at Gawler, South Australia where he was named Solar Gale and trained by Michael Hickmott.
With a backlog of horses sweating on runs in Class Four 1,200m races, Whyte said there was no specific reason for starting his campaign at Sha Tin.
“He has indicated to me that he is ready to go to the races, the Happy Valley trial was just to gain a bit of experience, give him a bit of a trip away and get his mind to think differently,” he said.
“There was no reason behind which track I decided, it was more about him being ready and his condition telling me is fine.
“He is as forward as one would expect him to be but I think whatever he does, he will be improving.”
Inner Flame is one of 24 horses that Whyte has rated between 52 and 57, indicating he has an arsenal of young horses ready to fire.
“From the time they stepped in the yard and from when I have been on them in the mornings – and seeing how they’ve improved with every trial and piece of work I’ve given them – it’s quite exciting,” Whyte said.
The South African will also debut two other runners on the day.
Xponential will begin his campaign in the Class Four Ho Sheung Handicap (1,200m) while the 70-rated More Than A Horse starts in the Class Three Yin Kong Handicap (1,400m).
More Than A Horse comes to Hong Kong after winning two from five starts in Australia while trained by the Hawkes stable.
Xponential has also shown ability at the trials during his brief time in Hong Kong and will be a threat to his rivals under jockey Chad Schofield.