Santa Ana Lane will have to overcome a wide berth if he is to win the G1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) at Sha Tin on Sunday, 28 April.
The Freedman camp is not fazed though: “Better 10 than one,” Sam Freedman, trainer Anthony Freedman’s son, said after the world’s top-rated sprinter drew 10 of 10 in the HK$16 million contest.
“It’ll let him get into a nice rhythm and space to breathe. The draw doesn’t really matter given his racing style and the relatively small field,” he said of the Australian raider, who will aim emulate compatriot and fellow ate closer Chautauqua, successful in 2016.
Connections of Hong Kong’s “Big Two” were happy enough. Beat The Clock will break from gate six and his old rival Mr Stunning from gate three.
“I think the draw in six is ok,” Beat The Clock’s trainer John Size said. “He will probably have to go forward a little bit because there’s not much speed in the race. I don’t think it’s any disaster, it’ll be alright.”
The Frankie Lor-trained Mr Stunning had the upper hand against his foe in December’s G1 Hong Kong Sprint but has been behind Beat The Clock since in the G1 Centenary Sprint Prize and G2 Sprint Cup when Rattan swept by both to cause an upset.
Lor said: “I’m happy, of course; it will be interesting to see if anyone leads. We’ll sit behind maybe Little Giant if he decides to go on.”
Rattan will most certainly be finishing off late and drew nine, outside of the mares Viddora (7) and Nac Venus (8).
The last-named represents Japan and trainer Hiroaki Sugiura’s representative, Hirokimi Tamogi, said: “I wanted to get more of an inside position. Number eight is a lucky number here in Hong Kong, so I hope we get some luck from the number. We will discuss the tactics with the jockey later on.”
New Zealand raider Enzo’s Lad will break from stall two.