Local Hong Kong horseman Tony Cruz is thrilled with the barrier six draw in Sunday’s Hong Kong Sprint 2014 for his exciting young colt Peniaphobia.
The three-year-old son of Dandy Man is the youngest chance in the 13 horse field for this year’s Group 1 LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin, but from his “perfect” alley Cruz expects him to be competitive.
“Today we’ve got alley number six and I think that’s a perfect position to be in,” Cruz told the Hong Kong Jockey Club after yesterday’s draw.
The European import boasts an impressive record so far, the ultra-consistent sprinter winning eight of his 14 starts and finishing out of the money just once.
He was stepped up to Group company for the first time this season and comes into his maiden Group 1 test on the back of successive wins.
The first was at Happy Valley over 1200m in October before he scored an upset over a similar field of rivals to that he faces on Sunday in the Group 2 Jockey Club Sprint (1200m).
Peniaphobia and jockey Douglas Whyte had a horror barrier 14 of 14 draw that day and were bumped at the start.
Despite the early setback the horse pressed forward and sat three or four without cover around the turn.
Still he dug deep and moved mid-track with 400m left to travel before storming home for a smart half-length win over Smart Volatility.
Now he faces an acid test up to elite level class and pays around $9 as one of five single figure hopes in the Hong Kong Sprint odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
This time Cruz is hoping he can settle just off the pace before again pulling out his scintillating late burst to win.
“If he can sit just off the pace, fourth or fifth, I’ll be happy,” he said.
“He’s got a great chance. He’s the youngest horse in the race but he’s up to it.
“He hasn’t got the early speed any more so I’ll be happy if there’s pace on.
“As he’s matured he’s lost the early speed and now he comes home with a stronger finish than ever.”
Markets are led by Aerovelocity ($5) who is drawn well in barrier seven, one inside of Australian raider Buffering ($11) who is likely to go forward and give the Dan O’Sullivan-trained favourite, to be ridden by expat Aussie Zac Purton, the perfect trail into the race.
Locally-based Australian John Moore meanwhile has two chances in the race saddling up Sterling City in gate three and Flagship Shine in barrier nine, positions he’s happy with for both.
Get behind your favourites across the four Hong Kong Group 1 races this weekend at the hottest prices online at Ladbrokes.com.au – home of the $500 bonus bet offer ending soon!