Computer Patch will have his fourth different jockey in as many starts for Sunday’s Group One Centenary Sprint Cup (1,200m) and it’s Matthew Chadwick who will be tasked with extracting the best out of the sprinter.
Chadwick produced a win and a second from two attempts on Computer Patch last season and is confident the four-year-old is capable of producing the goods despite a disappointing last-start failure as the $1.60 favourite in the Group Three Bauhinia Sprint Trophy (1,000m).
“There’s no doubt about his ability, it’s just about where he’s at on the day,” he said. “He won a trial on the dirt last week but he’s not a dirt horse so it’s hard to get a gauge on him.
“His last start was disappointing but he was carrying top weight so hopefully there’s an excuse there. He had a tough season when he was a three-year-old with John [Moore], he’s had a few miles in his legs already considering his age but healthwise he felt OK the other day so hopefully he can bounce back.”
Computer Patch was upstaged by less-fancied local rivals Jolly Banner, Rattan, Wishful Thinker and Fat Turtle in the Group One Hong Kong Sprint (1,200m) in December, prompting trainer Tony Cruz to label the galloper a 1,000m specialist.
Chadwick disagrees and intends to enter the weekend’s contest with an open mind aboard the speedster, who has largely been ridden handy throughout his career but did produce some blistering finishes from back of the field last season.
“My honest opinion is that I think he’s a six-furlong horse,” Chadwick said. “When I was riding him earlier on he seemed to be better when he was ridden slightly colder and he had a better turn of foot, although he won impressively down the straight leading [in October]. But he travelled that day, so it all depends whether he travels comfortably.
“The best feeling he has given me in his career is when he was ridden patiently and he was able to find his feet and he sprinted home really well.
“He would have one of the better finishes in the sprinting ranks if he is given a chance and you ride him where he is comfortable – whether it’s leading or back last, it doesn’t matter. He’s pretty versatile and it’s just where he’s comfortable on the day.”
Chadwick and Cruz will discuss tactics in greater detail later in the week but the jockey knows the legendary trainer will give him the agency to do what he thinks is best.
“In the trial we were pretty positive on him and that fits with how most of Tony’s horses are trained, but Tony is very flexible as well and he lets you ride them where the horse is happy,” Chadwick said.
“There’s no explicit instructions yet but I think generally speaking we’ll jump out positively and see where he lands and where he’s comfortable.”
Computer Patch is Chadwick’s only ride in Sunday’s features – which also include the Group One Stewards’ Cup (1,600m) and the Classic Mile.
Meanwhile, five Hong Kong horses are in the mix for the Dubai World Cup meeting in March, with Elusive State entered for the Group One Dubai World Cup (2,000m) and the Group Two Godolphin Mile, both on the dirt.
Glorious Artist and Kings Shield also hold entries for the Godolphin Mile, while 2019 Hong Kong Derby winner Furore has been entered for the Group One Dubai Turf (1,800m) and Amazing Chocolate for the Group One Dubai Golden Shaheen (1,200m) on the dirt.