G1 Queensland Derby winner Ruthven, one of the big names in John Moore’s four-year-old team, ran home a solid seventh under Tommy Berry.
“Ruthven trialled much better than he did on the dirt last time and that’s obviously been because he was let off the bit in his previous trial on it, so he felt a little bit more comfortable. You can see he travelled very well in the trial, but he still isn’t totally happy when he lets down on the dirt,” Berry said.
“He had a nice blow. He’ll be competitive in the mile but I’m really looking forward to him getting to the 1800 metres for the Classic Cup and the 2000 for the Derby. Those races are more his go, whereas Good Standing would be a better chance in the Classic Mile.”
Berry piloted the Moore-trained Good Standing in batch two, also over 1200m, and the bay exhibited good dash as he closed for fourth in a time of 1m 10.24s.
“He quite enjoys the dirt, he’s always worked well on it,” the stable jockey said. “The good thing about him is he’s got tactical speed; if you want to take a sit he’ll switch off, if there’s no speed in the race he’s led and won in Australia, so he’s a very versatile horse.”
Good Standing lacked for fitness when a good fourth over 1400m first-up but had to miss his intended second start on 7 January due to minor lameness in his near hind.
“He’s a bit fitter than he was in his first-up run but it’s a bit disappointing that he was scratched the other day. It would have been nice to have a run in-between because he’s quite a big, gross horse. When he races next week, he’s probably going to need the run, only because he did miss that run, but I’m still confident he’ll run very well.
“He’s run well over a trip in Australia but he’s very sharp at the moment, he’s got a good turn-of-foot, so at the moment he feels more of a miler to me, but he’ll definitely stretch out to the 1800, it’s whether, once we get to the 2000, that finds him out. But I’m confident the Classic Cup distance won’t be a problem.
“He’s forward enough to run very well in the mile but, just like last time, you might find that the fitness edge gives out a little with missing that run.”
The Tony Millard-trained Singapore Sling, a smart winner over 1650m in Class 2 at Happy Valley late last month, appeared to move well enough as he finished mid-pack in batch three under Nash Rawiller.
Good Standing (front) is on track for the Hong Kong Classic Mile, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club