Something has to give at Sha Tin on Sunday as a pair of highly talented youngsters put their unbeaten records on the line.
Buzzinga and Packing Treadmill are yet to taste defeat in Hong Kong and they lock horns in the Class Three Ngong Ping Handicap (1,200m).
Both represent powerful yards and the manner of their victories since arriving in the city suggest that they are above-average gallopers.
Buzzinga is now unbeaten in two countries and has made a big impression since arriving in Hong Kong.
An impressive winner of a 14-runner maiden at Morphettville on his sole start in Australia, he seems to have taken the switch of countries in his stride.
The four-year-old could not be accused of hiding his ability since joining Tony Cruz, winning all three of his barrier trials – the last of which featured an eye-catching late run from last to first down the Conghua straight – but he looked to face a tough task on his debut.
Voyage Bubble, who reopposes this weekend, was strongly supported into $1.4 favourite after running out an impressive winner on his previous start, but with Karis Teetan a notable jockey booking, Buzzinga was not overlooked in the market and sent off second favourite at $6.
From a decent draw in stall four, Cruz’s runner was one of the quickest away and found a perfect position one-out, one-back.
The biggest horse in the race by some distance, Buzzinga was able to outmuscle his rivals when looking for room in the straight and powered to clear to beat Voyage Bubble by an easy two lengths.
Raised 10 pounds for that win, he heads the weights for this contest and concedes six pounds to the exciting Packing Treadmill.
The Australian-bred three-year-old is one up on Buzzinga having won his first two starts in the city and improved vastly on his debut win by a head to demolish the field by two and a half lengths on his last start.
Those wins both came at Class Four level but that latest success marked Francis Lui Kin-wai’s runner as a horse to follow for at least the remainder of the season.
Top ride, @zpurton knocks up his 70th win for the season as Packing Treadmill scores on debut! #HKracing pic.twitter.com/fDsQBCUyoG— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) February 20, 2022
Always up with the pace, he shot clear of the field turning into the straight and it was noticeable that his fellow front-runner faded to finish eighth, while the galloper in third position early dropped out of contention and failed to beat a single runner home.
The form of that last success has also been franked, with runner-up Science Patch and fourth Fun N Glory both successful on their next starts, and Packing Treadmill could well be the one they have to beat here.
Cruz steals the show with terrific treble at Happy Valley
Nicconi County would have been a third unbeaten runner in the field but he was withdrawn before declarations as he is still in Conghua and unable to return to the city as a result of ongoing border restrictions.
With previous winner Voyage Bubble yet to finish out of the first two in Hong Kong and Ready To Win and Brilliant Way both looking to bounce back to form after some disappointing runs since their last win, it will take a brave punter to call this race with any confidence.