Connections of Aethero were suitably upbeat after the crack sprinter drew stall five for the Chairman’s Sprint Prize at Sha Tin on Sunday.
The John Moore-trained three-year-old is all speed and a top-notch performer on his day, but the start is crucial to his chance and things did not go well on that front last time out.
Having missed the break, he overraced and ultimately dropped out of contention in the Group Two Sprint Cup won by Voyage Warrior, who reopposes on FWD Champions Day – a fixture that will be live on Sky Sports Racing.
That was also from stall five, but Moore believe Aethero is “definitely the one they’ve all got to beat” in this weekend’s Group One assignment, where he will bid to become the first of his age to triumph since Fairy King Prawn in 1999.
Moore said: “I expect him to ping and get to the front. We might see the best of him.
“This is a good gate for him, I think. I preferred the middle for him because on the inside, if you break a fraction slowly, you can get knocked down.
“He could pull and lose his race again, but I’m not thinking about that. It’s the same gate as last time, but it just is what it is. I think everything will be all right unless he gets something that plays up alongside him and sets him off or something – something unexpected.”
He added: “He did the usual work this morning, probably one or two seconds slower, but again, his work rider Romain (Clavreul) came back and said if this horse gets beat he’ll be surprised, he’s only got to jump away.”
Moore’s superstar gelding Beauty Generation will also break from five when he goes for a record third win in the FWD Champions Mile.
Moore said: “Five is perfect – we’ve got the speed influence on our inside so that will give us the chance to come out and come over, and no doubt camp outside Ka Ying Star unless something foreseen transpires.
Like Aethero, the seven-year-old also worked on Thursday morning.
Moore said: “He was very enthusiastic about his work this morning, the report back from Romain was positive that he did everything right, he came back and couldn’t blow a match out.
“I saw him coming back and I’m thrilled, everything has gone to plan and it’s all systems go.”
After a wet week in Hong Kong, Moore is not concerned about underfoot conditions for his pair.
“A little cut in the ground – I love it!” he said.
“I think Sunday was always going to be OK but just that little bit of cushion, I think that both of my horses will just love it.”