Jockey Karis Teetan believes that emerging three-year-old Alcari has what it takes to join the likes of Pakistan Star and Luger on the honour roll for the Griffin Trophy (1400m) when he contests the year-end feature on Saturday (23 December).
Ricky Yiu-trained Alcari created a big impression on debut, winning comfortably over the straight 1000m in October. However, circumstances were against the son of All Too Hard second-up in November when runner-up over 1200m behind Amazing Star, while a wide gate proved too difficult to overcome last start, finishing fifth over 1400m at his first attempt in Class 3.
“It was a big effort last time,” Teetan said at Sha Tin on Friday morning (22 December). “I was out so Umberto rode him, and it looked like he was a bit green in the straight, but he still ran very well I thought. He didn’t have much of an option, with the wide gate and a light weight he had to go forward, and he wasn’t beaten too far.
“Now, he heads back to his own age group so I think he should be suited here. He doesn’t have to lead, there looks to be some speedy horses on my inside so I’ll just wait and see how it pans out. He trialled well recently and he’s come through the last run well so I’m hopeful that he’ll run a big race on Saturday.”
Alcari (122lb) comes through different formlines to the majority of the nine-horse field for the Griffin Trophy, which will be run as the third event on Saturday’s card. In fact, seven of Alcari’s eight rivals contested a restricted event over 1400m on 3 December, with Michael Freedman-trained Sparkling Dragon (125lb) seeing off Paul O’Sullivan’s Win Beauty Win (122lb) by a head.
“This assignment, on paper, is easier for Sparkling Dragon than what he had to do last time,” jockey Sam Clipperton said. “It’s a similar field but last time he had to carry 133lb, it was his first time at 1400m and he had to go for home pretty early so it was a solid effort. He drops back to 125lb, he has another good draw and his work has been spot on, he certainly hasn’t taken a backwards step from his last run.
“It isn’t easy to go two for two in Hong Kong, so there’s no reason why he shouldn’t perform well again.”