Bravo to the straight-track sensation: ‘the 1,000m is what he needs’




A host of key contenders will be stepping back in trip for Sunday’s Class Two Amethyst Handicap (1,000m) and Antoine Hamelin hopes it is his mount who will be best suited by the change.


Ping Hai Bravo has made the Sha Tin straight his own this season, producing four wins and a second from five attempts, and the Frenchman knows the four-year-old will be in his element come Sunday.


“The 1,000m is what he needs. His trial last week was a bit quiet but he’s not a horse that does his best every day, sometimes he’s like this so I’m still confident with him,” said Hamelin, who has been aboard for Ping Hai Bravo’s two most recent wins.


The John Size-trained Ping Hai Bravo has raced four times over six furlongs this season for a best finish of third and did win twice at the trip last term, but it’s over 1,000m where he is at his most devastating.


“He’s a lovely horse and he has a nice turn of foot for the finish – he gives you a great sensation and it’s a pleasure when you finish strongly,” Hamelin said.


While Ping Hai Bravo has tackled the 1,000m trip as recently as March, David Hayes’ young gun Master Montaro tackles the distance for the first time since he was victorious at Pakenham in Australia in March last year.


The four-year-old has won once at 1,200m and once at 1,400m from his five Hong Kong starts but Hayes said he’d rather test the son of Toronado under race conditions after a stint in Conghua instead of trialling him.


“The 1,000m is probably on the short side for him but I thought rather than trialling, let’s do it for money and he has got good 1,000m form from Australia,” the trainer said.


“I think it’s a positive not trialling. I’m sure if I trialled him up the straight last week, he would have trialled very well but it might have taken the zip out of him for the race.


“He looks really good, he’s in great shape and after this he’ll probably go straight out to 1,400m in three or four weeks.”


As a known backmarker, Hayes is not surprised Master Montaro – who will be ridden by Vincent Ho Chak-yiu – has been unable to maintain his undefeated record after a flawless start to his career in Australia.


“I’m pretty happy with what he’s done. His racing pattern in coming from the back is all about tempo, so if the tempo is wrong it’s impossible to come from the back,” he said of the gelding, who has drawn favourably in 10.


“In Hong Kong on the firm tracks, they keep running sometimes, so he has [to produce] huge

efforts to win and a couple of his wins were big efforts, so I’m happy with him.”


Another proven speedster stepping back in distance is Gold Chest, who saluted down the Sha Tin straight in September but has been uncompetitive over further in his last two outings.

The Caspar Fownes-trained Explosive Witness also returns to his favoured trip, while Jimmy Ting Koon-ho has rolled the dice with Assimilate, dropping him back from 1,800m.


As a known backmarker, Hayes is not surprised Master Montaro – who will be ridden by Vincent Ho Chak-yiu – has been unable to maintain his undefeated record after a flawless start to his career in Australia.


“I’m pretty happy with what he’s done. His racing pattern in coming from the back is all about tempo, so if the tempo is wrong it’s impossible to come from the back,” he said of the gelding, who has drawn favourably in 10.


“In Hong Kong on the firm tracks, they keep running sometimes, so he has [to produce] huge efforts to win and a couple of his wins were big efforts, so I’m happy with him.”


Another proven speedster stepping back in distance is Gold Chest, who saluted down the Sha Tin straight in September but has been uncompetitive over further in his last two outings.

The Caspar Fownes-trained Explosive Witness also returns to his favoured trip, while Jimmy Ting Koon-ho has rolled the dice with Assimilate, dropping him back from 1,800m.

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