Australian import Stronger (133lb) steps out on debut in the Class 3 Peninsula Golden Jubilee Challenge Cup Handicap (1000m) on Sunday (1 December) for John Moore.
Stronger closed out his Australian career with a Group 3 win at the Gold Coast in the Ken Russell Memorial Classic for two-year-olds, with Blake Shinn in the plate. The rider is booked for the Not A Single Doubt colt’s Hong Kong debut.
“He’s a lovely horse to do anything with, he’s a colt but you wouldn’t know he’s a colt he goes about his business – he just does it very professionally – he’s just a beautiful horse to deal with,” Shinn said.
Prior to his Australian Group 3 score, the three-year-old finished fourth behind the Godolphin-owned Bivouac in the Group 3 Kindergarten Stakes.
Bivouac has since ensured that form stands up by winning the Group 1 Golden Rose at Rosehill, followed by a runner-up effort in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington, two starts later.
“I think (Stronger) has acclimatised to the Hong Kong environment brilliantly. He’s a consummate professional, his work has been very good, his trial at Happy Valley, I didn’t ride him but it appeared to me that he went well,” Shinn continued.
“From my expectations of him, I think he’s forward enough to run a good race.”
Shinn has ridden three wins at his last three meetings, including a dead-heat shared with Alexis Badel at Happy Valley on 20 November.
The majority of Stronger’s outings in Australia saw him settle worse than midfield but Shinn is hoping he’s able to sit a little handier if possible on Sunday.
“Gate one is probably not the ideal barrier down the straight but the horse has got a little bit of tactical speed, he’s certainly not a leader, he’s more a of a chaser, he needs a target to follow, but I think he shouldn’t be too far away in the run,” he said.
“We’ve got Allied Agility drawn barrier three and we know he’s a horse that’s got plenty of speed so if I can begin positively, and he can jump and follow Allied Agility, hopefully he can take me to a position where I want to be, somewhere closer to the outside and hopefully pounce late.”