Beat The Clock delighted Joao Moreira in a barrier trial at Sha Tin on Friday, so much so that the Brazilian ace is likely to side with the five-year-old in the G1 Centenary Sprint Cup (1200m) at the venue in nine days’ time.
The upcoming big race puts the John Size-trained galloper in opposition with stablemate and last year’s winner, D B Pin, who also pleased Moreira in a trial this morning behind two-time G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) hero Mr Stunning.
“Beat The Clock has never trialled any better, I think it could be his time,” Moreira said of the Hinchinbrook gelding, who has placed in each of his four G1 starts without winning.
The Australian-bred claimed the lead early and imposed his authority over 11 others in the 1200m dirt trial, finishing seven and a half lengths clear in a time of 1m 10.73s.
Beat The Clock is now in his third Hong Kong campaign and Moreira, the Size stable’s retained rider, is confident he is at or near full maturity.
“Mentally and physically he must be there,” he said. “He’s old enough: he’s had enough experience. Last season I always felt that he was a little bit immature and physically not fully built up yet, but this season he has got to be. He has had two runs and he should be delivering his best.
“We know already that he’s very competitive in this grade. He has missed out in Group 1 races by short margins and I’m very confident he’ll be there again, to be competitive and maybe win his Group 1,” he added.
Beat The Clock, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club
D B Pin, Mr Stunning look well
D B Pin won the 2018 Centenary Sprint Cup by a neck, with Beat The Clock and Mr Stunning dead-heating for second. In last month’s Hong Kong Sprint, Mr Stunning prevailed with D B Pin running on for second and Beat The Clock third.
Moreira was aboard D B Pin through a 1050m dirt trial today, the batch after Beat The Clock had scooted around the circuit. The Darci Brahma six-year-old ran home a half-length second - all but matching strides with his old rival Mr Stunning who clocked a time of 1m 00.67s.
“I’m pleased with how D B Pin went,” Moreira said. “He’s done nothing wrong in his trial today, he was behind Mr Stunning but when it comes to race day it could be a different story; as we’ve seen, there isn't much between them all.
“I’m happy to be riding Beat The Clock at this stage but I have to highlight that the way D B Pin is going, I wouldn’t be surprised if he won,” he added.
Karis Teetan, meanwhile, was happy with the Frankie Lor-trained Mr Stunning. The Mauritian sealed his first Hong Kong G1 aboard the former Size-trained speedster in last month’s showcase sprint and is hoping the gelding will confirm superiority in next week’s Centenary Sprint Cup.
“It was a good trial for him,” the rider said. “It was just to tick him over into the race; he came out nicely, he relaxed and when I just wanted to work home a little bit in the straight he felt good.”
The Centenary Sprint Cup is part of an exciting Group 1 double-header at Sha Tin on 20 January, with the same afternoon’s G1 Stewards’ Cup (1600m) set to feature the outstanding Beauty Generation.