Jockey Brett Prebble hopes that Amazing Kids’ first foray outside of Group company in over two years can prove a winning one when the sprinter contests the Class 1 Singapore Turf Club Trophy Handicap (1200m) at Sha Tin on Sunday (11 March).
The John Size-trained Amazing Kids is a two-time G3 winner over the Sha Tin 1000m, taking the National Day Cup Handicap and the Bauhinia Sprint Trophy Handicap over that course and distance last season.
However, he has not been beaten far in the top sprints in town, with his most recent effort a three-length fifth to stablemate Mr Stunning in the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) in December.
“I think his best is 1000m down the straight on firm ground, and for a horse like him, there aren’t many chances to get all that here in Hong Kong,” Prebble said at Happy Valley on Friday morning (9 March). “But he always runs a race, even against the best horses in town, he’s just being beaten three-quarters of a length, a length, or thereabouts. He’s probably just short of those better ones but he’s very honest.”
The high rating of 123 for Amazing Kids sees him carrying top-weight of 133lb in Sunday’s race. Prebble sees that as some concern, while the rider is also mindful of the six-year-old’s fitness after a three-month break.
“Obviously, it’s always tricky carrying the heavy weight so that goes against the drop in grade,” Prebble said. “He hasn’t raced since December and he’s come back a bit fat so John’s given him a fair few trials and his last one was really nice, that should bring him on a lot fitness-wise.
“He’s drawn a nice enough gate too, the inside means we don’t need to drag him right out the back. Sometimes, he can flunk the start and end up back in the last two or three which makes it a bit difficult, but hopefully he can jump on terms here.”
Prebble believes that the Francis Lui-trained Born In China, a two and a quarter length winner of the Class 1 Happy Valley Trophy Handicap (1200m) last start, is his biggest danger.
“I think Born In China is probably the one that, if he bring his Happy Valley form, is one that could put his hand up,” he said. “Actually, he finished second to Amazing Kids over this course and distance a long time ago, we won easily but he had to do it the hard way, coming from a long way back. Taking a line through that, he could be the one to beat.”
Amazing Kids is one of two John Size-trained gallopers in the 11-horse contest. The other is House Of Fun, who gets in on the limit weight of 113lb. He is seeking a first win this season, having recorded seven consecutive top-four finishes at his last seven runs.
“I trialled him the other day and he feels like he is flying,” raceday rider Karis Teetan said. “He’s always a horse that trials well and that does good work in the morning, though. I think John just wanted the horse to have a nice stretch on the grass. He really pulled me all the way to the line.”
Teetan sees the light weight and a likely favourable pace, set by horses like the Chris So-trained Fabulous One (113lb) among others, as crucial factors for House Of Fun.
“With that weight, he’s the type of horse who should be suited,” the jockey said. “He doesn’t want to make the speed, but he wants the speed to be on. It should be perfect, there are fast horses in there like Fabulous One. He’s racing well, he gets down in the weights now, so hopefully he’s running loose with me on him!”
G1 winner Peniaphobia (123lb) and G2 victor Not Listenin’tome (128lb) are also among the runners, as is last-start Class 1 winner Dundonnell (121lb). Winner’s Way (120lb), Archippus (117lb), Wah May Friend (116lb) and Magic Legend (113lb) complete the line-up.
The Singapore Turf Club Trophy is the seventh of 10 races and is scheduled to jump at 4.05pm, with the opener, the Class 5 Kreta Ayer Handicap (1400m), set down for 1pm.
– News from Hong Kong Jockey Club