Bad Boy batters his rivals
Hong Kong race round-up
There was an air of "After the Lord Mayor's show" about Sha Tin racecourse on Saturday, six days on from the HK$83 million (S$15.4 million) LONGINES Hong Kong International Races and its record 100,000-plus crowd.
But, while an earthy Class 2 handicap replaced last weekend's four Group 1s in the feature slot, there was still plenty to keep the Hong Kong hardcore satisfied.
BAD BOY took the vacant spotlight with a scruff-grabbing display in the Lukfook Jewellery Cup Handicap over 1,000m, for which he returned the 2.5 favourite.
Part-owner Donnie Yen, martial artist and movie star, appears to have a Pattern-race runner on his hands, with January's Group 3 Bauhinia Sprint Trophy (Handicap) up next for the four-year-old.
"That was great, he led them a merry dance - the blinkers have made a big difference. He'll now run in the Group 3 on Jan 8," trainer John Moore said after Bad Boy had battered his 11 rivals with a gate-to-wire display of brute speed.
"He'll go up, maybe, eight pounds (3.6kg) for that, which will put him in at the bottom of the handicap. Poor Sam Clipperton (winning rider) will have to start sitting in the sauna now.
"This horse has just repeated what he's done before, running 55.9 seconds today. He's shown us before that he can do that. He got the gun gate (12), he's got good gate speed and he was able to dictate the race.
"The blinkers just focused him. I think it's the secret to really getting him switched on. It was just a tiny tweak that was required."
Moore added that the plan is to run Not Listenin'tome in the Group 3 Bauhinia Sprint Trophy, too.
Bad Boy, a winner of two (1,200m and 1,250m) from three in Australia, made it three from eight Hong Kong-side in drawing two-and-three-quarter lengths clear of runner-up My Little Friend in 55.93sec, a smidgen inside standard.
And, despite failing at his first attempt at Sha Tin's 1,200m last start, Moore does not see Bad Boy as a limited straight track runner.
"As long as the 1,000m races come up, we'll target them but, if the occasion arises, we'll definitely go 1,200m again with him.
"The other day, when he tried it, he got trapped wide, over-raced and just folded. But the way he's progressing, he'll have to participate in 1,200m Group races in the future. This is just a nice progression to the Group 3 next start."
Clipperton was just as awed by Bad Boy's victory.
"That was very impressive," he said.
"It felt like he was going easier than the time he ran. I think the blinkers have been a big switch on for the horse. He's always had ability and he's just taken a few runs to get ready this time in but that was good."
Most Beautiful ran home third, two-and-three-quarter lengths behind, while the 2.7 second favourite Adventurer faded to fifth after attempting to race with the winner. -HKJC