Local sprinter Peniaphobia has drawn the perfect barrier to score back to back wins in the Group 1 HK$18.5m Longines Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin on Sunday according to his trainer Tony Cruz.
Peniapohbia has drawn barrier one this year but jumped from the outside gate of thirteen last year and Hong Kong’s champion jockey Joao Moreira had no hesitation in taking the speedy gelding straight to the front and crossed the field easily.
Moreira then controlled the race from the front and Peniaphobia had plenty in reserve to hold off the challengers off Gold Fun and Not Listenin’tome.
Brazilian born jockey Silvestre De Sousa who is now based in Hong Kong gets the mount in this year’s Hong Kong Sprint and Cruz said that Peniaphobia will have no trouble leading from the pole position.
“Well, I was hoping for a good draw and we got a good draw!” Cruz said.
“Gate one is a perfect draw. There is a big difference between one and 14 from the 1200m because they hit the turn pretty quick, so we don’t have to use the horse up as much early as we did last season.
“It’s a big advantage and he’s the fastest horse too, so I’d expect him to be leading them here.”
Peniaphobia will be having his third start in the Hong Kong Sprint after going down narrowly to Aerovelocity with Douglas Whyte in the saddle in 2014 but his lead up form is well below his best this year and is coming off a last start seventh to the John Moore trained Not Listenin’tome in the Group 2 HK$4m Jockey Club Sprint at Sha Tin on November 20.
Peniaphobia will be meeting virtually the same field in the Hong Kong Sprint that went around in the Jockey Club Sprint with runner up Lucky Bubbles heading Sunday’s market order at $3.30 with Ladbrokes.com.au.
Jockey Club Sprint winner Not Listenin’tome is marked at $10 for the Hong Kong Sprint while Peniaphobia is listed as a $14 chance.
Australian jockey Hugh Bowman will stick with Not Listenin’tome who has drawn handily at barrier four while Lucky Bubbles has drawn next to him at five with Brett Prebble taking the mount again.
Japanese sprinter Big Arthur is on the second line of betting at $4.80 but will have plenty of work to do from barrier thirteen with English rider Ryan Moore to ride while Tim Clark will be able to give Australian sprinter Takedown, a $9 chance, a good run from barrier six.
Australia’s other representative Rebel Dane has drawn barrier eight with Ben Melham to ride and is at the double figure odds of $17.