By News Team
Last Updated: 21st March 2020
Set the alarm, stick the kettle on and get in a prime position on Sunday morning for the BMW Hong Kong Derby.
This year’s renewal looks set to be an absolute belter, and at the reasonable hour of 8:35 am it’s worth getting up for.
Plenty of former UK and Irish starts lining-up
Six of the 14 horses lining up for the Hong Kong racing season’s premier event for four-year-olds were previously trained in the UK or Ireland, so there are no excuses for turning a blind eye to the formbook.
From Irish 2,000 Guineas third Decrypt to former Richard Fahey-trained Glorious Goodwood winner More Than This, the field is littered with European imports, and that’s not the only reason to pay attention.
Step-up in a trip, the unknown for favourite Golden Sixty
Red-hot favourite Golden Sixty is bidding to make it seven wins on the bounce this season and it appears only the extra distance might catch him out.
The son of Medaglia d’Oro, a Group 1 winner of today’s 1m2f trip, is stepping into unknown territory.
His last start over 1m1f in the HK Classic Cup was the biggest stamina test he’s had to date, and though he saw that out well, he’s still a horse that relies on a speedy turn of foot.
Though he has been hugely impressive over 7f-1m1f, there aren’t too many clues in his breeding that suggest the extra furlong will be up his street.
Of course, he may well settle nicely, get a good tow into the race and pick them off with a dream run in the closing stages, but nothing is guaranteed and he’s a very short price at 10/11.
Purton aiming to bridge title gap aboard More Than This
Second in the betting is More Than This at 5/2, who was ridden by Ryan Moore two starts back when chasing home Golden Sixty in the Classic Mile, before finishing third in the Classic Cup.
He was a pillar-to-post winner over 7f at Glorious Goodwood for Richard Fahey, suggesting a step up to a mile wouldn’t be an issue, but 1m2f might be a bridge too far for the son of miler Dutch Art.
He is ridden by Zac Purton who is desperately hunting down rival Joao Moreira in the jockeys’ title race. Moreira, who is two clear at the top, is 4/7 to win the championship for the fourth time, while Purton is 5/4 to retain the title.
Butterfield the each-way play
Back to the race itself and Sao Paulo Derby winner, BUTTERFIELD is a proven stayer, having already won over 1m2f and 1m4f.
Under the in-form Grant van Niekerk and from stall nine, he’ll be looking for a positive early position and he won’t be easy to pass.
He showed a good attitude and plenty of stamina to hold off his rivals over 1m1f at Sha Tin last time out and looks a great each-way bet at 33/1 considering the step up in trip.