With Group One form behind stand-out British youngster Too Darn Hot, expectations are high for BMW Hong Kong Derby contender Decrypt.
The Frankie Lor Fu-chuen-trained colt makes his Hong Kong debut in Sunday’s Class Two Lukfook Jewellery Cup (1,400m) as he starts his campaign to the four-year-old series.
Decrypt made a mark early, winning two of his first three starts and then finishing third in the Group One Irish 2,000 Guineas behind Phoenix Of Spain and Too Darn Hot.
The latter was regarded as Europe’s best two-year-old in 2018 and was recently retired after finishing his career with three Group Ones from nine career starts. The forms looks strong.
Decrypt comes into the race on a rating of 93 with those efforts under his belt and he will be wearing the colours of Albert Hung Chao-hong, the owner of 2017 Hong Kong Derby hero Rapper Dragon, so hopes are high.
But he faces a challenge on Sunday – carrying top-weight and having his first start for over six months in a new country is never easy – so Lor is tempering those expectations for the time being.
“He looks fine at the moment, he’s had two trials and he has gate speed, so I think he can get a good position, although he has drawn wide – so we’ll leave it up to Zac [Purton],” Lor said.
“He’s not a very big horse, he’s only around 1,020 to 1,030 pounds but he has a good heart so for me, everything is good with him.
“But we first need to see how he goes on Sunday.”
Purton was aboard for Decrypt’s most recent trial and expects to go back from barrier nine.
“He feels like he’s going to need a mile and maybe 2,000m so the distance on Sunday might be a bit short for him,” Purton said.
“He’s only small so hopefully there’s a little bit of pace on, he can run on and show us that he’s going to be a Hong Kong Derby chance.”
Decrypt is not the only potential four-year-old series contender making his Hong Kong debut in the race, with John Moore’s Savvy Nine also taking part.
The son of Anodin raced as Insandi and had five starts in France when trained by William Haggas, placing twice at Group Three level and once in a Listed race.
Savvy Nine has had three trials in preparation for this event and will jump from barrier three with Jack Wong Ho-nam in the saddle.