Trainer Richard Gibson has taken the decision to run Akeed Mofeed again on Saturday, just two weeks out from the Hong Kong Derby but victory will see him become a short-priced favourite for the classic.
Gibson has admitted that it has been tough to get Akeed Mofeed fit on the track, as he is a stallion who has run only four times in the last year – twice in Ireland and twice since arriving in Hong Kong.
Akeed Mofeed has caught the eye in Hong Kong without looking at his peak but, with the Derby looming on March 17, Gibson is now turning the screws. The four-year-old’s performance on Saturday will be key in assessing whether he really is deserving of his reputation or he remains a work in progress, and he has some solid opposition including another Derby aspirant, Genki Twins.
Trained by Andreas Schutz, Genki Twins had been struggling to acclimatise in his first five starts but has improved recently, the latest in a very impressive 1,600m win in fast time on February 12.
The feature at Sha Tin is the Hong Kong Macau Trophy, one of two races each season between horses from Hong Kong and its ‘little brother’ jurisdiction, one at Sha Tin and one at Macau’s Taipa racecourse.
Most often, the races are won by the home runners and that appears likely again, despite confidence in Absolutely Win from visiting trainer Gary Moore, who did upset the Hong Kong horses on their home ground at 109-1 with Viva Pronto three years ago.
With Brett Prebble suspended, Douglas Whyte links with David Hall’s likely favourite Solar Great, and Whyte’s usual provider, John Size, has had to call on local Vincent Ho for his strong chance, Happy Era, after a scratching at declaration time got the very smart four-year-old an unexpected lift into the field.
By Nathan Mody