The only thing left to decide in the current Hong Kong season is the champion trainer, and it will be the focus of the public holiday meeting at Sha Tin on Monday.
John Size and Caspar Fownes both crept one win closer on Wednesday to Dennis Yip, who leads Tony Cruz and Size by three, with two more to Fownes, and there are 39 races remaining.
Size fans will be expecting the reigning champion to open Monday’s meeting with a winner after Luger’s eye-catching debut up the straight 1,000m last week.
It is rare to see any horse on the straight course make up so much ground, especially in the centre of the track which is regarded as a much slower section, and Luger came from last to run second on debut. He steps to 1,400m now which looks a well-prepared plan from Size.
But while Size has other runners with chances, there is nothing that stands out and the longer this race goes on, the more likely it looks that Yip can hold out his pursuers to notch up his maiden championship win.
He too has no stand out but will have runners in all 11 races, and 13 overall, with capable chances to win Sweet Corner in the third, Follow The Wind (race nine), Mr Gourmet (race ten) and Travel Brand (race eleven).
John Moore had good news this week that the retirement rules will be performance-tested rather than compulsory from next season and he is just under $AU 200,000 short of breaching the $HK 100 million in stakes for a third consecutive year.
He could do it on Monday, with his best chances looking to be Exciting Dream for Tommy Berry in the second-last race and Poetic Justice in the last. Exciting Dream in particular has been crying out to win a race lately and this one looks ideal.
By Nathan Mody