Derek Leung quashed any stamina queries regarding Reliable Team at Sha Tin this morning (30 November) as the grey prepares to take on a collection of quality opponents from Japan, Great Britain, Ireland, France and Hong Kong in the HK$20 million G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Vase (2400m) on Sunday, 12 December.
“There’s no doubt he can handle it, I think he can even go to 3000 metres – the 2400 (metres) is no problem for him,” Leung said.
The six-year-old rises to 2400m for the second time after finishing a close-up third to Butterfield in the G3 Queen Mother Memorial Cup Handicap last season, however this time he does so for his first try at G1 level against a tidy group of overseas raiders.
“I think he’s a stayer and when he relaxes in the race I think he can get further – it depends on the pace in the race but if it’s suitable he should still run well,” Leung said of the seven-time winning son of Reliable Man.
Dictating a slow tempo to upstage his better credentialed rivals, Leung and Reliable Team staved off six others to record a make-all victory in the HK$4.75 million G2 BOCHK Jockey Club Cup (2000m) on 21 November at odds of 16/1.
“We were lucky, we controlled the pace and that’s how we won, I don’t mind if we’re able to do it again on the big day but it depends on the draw and the pace,” Leung said.