My Sugar has jumped 17 points in the ratings already this season but Jimmy Ting Koon-ho is confident his impressive son of Deep Field has plenty more in hand as he prepares to tackle a Class Two Chevalier Property Investment Handicap (1,400m) boasting plenty of depth.
My Sugar has reeled off three straight wins over the Sha Tin 1,400m – including two in Class Three this season – and he enters his first Class Two outing off the back of a six-week freshen-up.
Now rated 89 after copping a 10-point penalty for his last-start win, My Sugar carries 127 pounds and will jump from barrier one.
“I think he will improve a bit more and I think he can win on that rating – he’s a nice horse and he’s got a chance,” Ting said.
Zac Purton has been in the saddle throughout My Sugar’s hat-trick and retains the ride, meaning Blake Shinn replaces him aboard the David Hayes-trained Master Montaro.
“I was committed to My Sugar before Master Montaro looked like running in this race but My Sugar has done nothing wrong,” Purton said.
“He’s been racing very well, he continually just gets a little bit better all the time. Jimmy has been able to give him a little bit of time between runs, we’ve come up with a good gate and the form out of his last race is good, so I expect him to run well again.”
While Purton has the inside alley at his disposal, Master Montaro’s rotten luck at the barrier draw has continued and he will jump from gate 10 – the eighth time in 12 Hong Kong starts that he’s been hit with a double-figure barrier.
The race also features a couple of four-year-olds whose march towards the Classic Series is well under way in Ima Single Man and Blaze Warrior, while the Caspar Fownes-trained Senor Toba is just starting out.
After winning the Group Three Frank Packer Plate (2,000m) at Randwick in April while under the tutelage of Chris Waller, Senor Toba went onto run second in May’s Group One Queensland Derby (2,400m) before making the move to Hong Kong.
The son of Toronado has only had two trials in Hong Kong but ran second in the most recent of those over a mile and Fownes expects the galloper to show something first time out with 120 pounds on his back after being handed a rating of 82.
“He’s going well. He’s happy, he’s obviously crying out for distance but he’s had a good preparation leading into his first run,” the reigning champion trainer said.
“He’s drawn nine so he’ll just get back and he’ll grind home and I’m sure he’ll show us something, but he’s going to be better suited when he starts to get over his right trip.”
Derek Leung Ka-chun takes the ride aboard Senor Toba in a race that also features Seattle Choice and Mister Snowdon.
Senor Toba is not the only galloper with Derby form from Australia making his Hong Kong debut on Sunday, with the John Size-trained Hit The Shot stepping out in the Class Three Chevalier Lifts & Escalators Handicap (1,600m) after finishing runner-up in last year’s Victoria Derby (2,500m).
“He seems to have settled in OK, he’s a staying-type horse so it’s difficult to get a guide on them in trackwork or in trials,” Size said.
“He hasn’t raced for a year and it’s just the beginning of his Hong Kong career so I think he’ll improve a lot. He’s certainly shown class as a three-year-old but whether he’s capable of winning at a mile with a heavy weight, well that remains to be seen. Normally these horses need a race or two to find their spot.”