Not even a full week on from Ping Hai Star’s brilliant BMW Hong Kong Derby victory, already there is tentative talk of next year’s four-year-old showcase, with Easy Go Easy Win (125lb) out to highlight his developing credentials at Sha Tin on Sunday (25 March).
The Class 2 Sapphire Handicap (1600m) – with its HK$1.86 million purse being worth roughly one-tenth of the Derby pot – might not trip off the tongue as an obvious Classic Series pointer, but that is the race in which trainer John Moore’s smart three-year-old will continue his education.
Champion Jockey Joao Moreira is pleased to retake the reins on the freshman Savabeel gelding, having partnered for a first-up win over 1200m back in December.
“I think he’s a very nice horse and a horse that has a future as well,” Moreira said, before forwarding the Derby as a long-term aim. “I believe he’ll go higher and I believe he’s a horse that can go on to the Derby next year. The way he can do things, you’d think he can stay that distance.”
But a lot of water can flow under a bridge in a 12-month span; for now, Moreira has his sights set on that Class 2 and a second victory for the bay at start five.
“Those two chances I had to ride him, he gave me a nice feel both times. The day that he won he was green and kind of running around a little bit but he was still able to finish off very strongly and win easily. Second-up, he was beaten by two very good horses in my opinion – one was Pingwu Spark, who I rate as a pretty good one.”
The form of Easy Go Easy Win’s latest two starts is nothing to decry either: a half-length second to John Size’s unbeaten four-year-old Conte over a mile and then a solid half-length fourth to the re-opposing Eastern Express (129lb) at the same track and trip.
“Last time he was just in need of some help, so the thing about him this time is that John has decided to put the blinkers on – if he can relax the first half of the race and finish it off, I think we’re good,” Moreira said.
“He’s been doing very well, he trialled well with me the other day and if he delivers his best, he’s a winning chance, for sure.”
Easy Go Easy Win faces tough Class 2 opposition though. The 11-runner field features the Frankie Lor-trained Simply Brilliant (122lb) with Zac Purton in the plate. The Frankel chestnut finally hit the line in front last time after four placed efforts. The four-year-old steps up to a mile for the first time since he finished sixth in last June’s Britannia Handicap at Royal Ascot.