It's all systems go for Spalato in HK
The work's done.
Now Singapore racegoers will be watching with bated breath today, when their unbeaten Singapore hero SPALATO cross swords with some of the finest Hong Kong sprinters at Sha Tin at 3.30pm.
The assignment is the Group 2 BOCHK Wealth Management Jockey Club Sprint over 1,200m, a race which Singapore's former equine celebrity Rocket Man dead-heated with Hong Kong's One World in 2010 and then went to to finish second by a whisker to South Africa's JJ The Jet Plane in the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint three weeks later.
Spalato is on a similar mission and his trainer, John O'Hara, couldn't be more pleased with his star's condition since arriving in Hong Kong last week.
"He's done well, after his final gallop on Wednesday. He's eating good," said O'Hara yesterday.
"Since he arrived, he has been thriving, maybe it's the cool weather. His weight has dropped a bit, but not worrying us."
What is of more concern are the wide draw (gate 13 of 14 runners) and the right-handed track.
"Gate 13, and on a track you've never raced on are always concerns," said O'Hara. "There are a couple of fast horses, so we might take a seat and hope for the best.
"It's not the international race, but we hope to do the Singapore Turf Club and Singapore proud. It's for everybody."
Spalato will be ridden by Sydney champion jockey, New Zealander James McDonald, who rode the horse to win the Luzerne Cup in record time last time out on Oct 26.
The previous four of his five wins, including the Group 1 Patron's Bowl over 1,600m and the Group 1 Singapore Derby over 2,000m, were with Singapore champion jockey-elect, Brazilian Manoel Nunes, who had to miss the ride because of an injured wrist.