Hong Kong Racing Study Guide: After Name Change, Naboo Attack On The Upswing In Time For Hong Kong Sprint

The Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Sprint will not be run until Sunday, Dec. 12 but I have already made up my mind. Naboo Attack is my choice regardless of the post position draw and it will be his first stakes win of any kind.

Naboo Attack won five of seven starts in Australia when he was known as Command N’Conquer. He shipped to Hong Kong and did not make his debut until May 30 of this year in a class 2 handicap. Carrying a feathery 117 pounds (he weighs over 1,360 pounds!), he pounced on the leaders and won going away in 1:07.92 seconds with Vincent Ho aboard.

Rested for the summer, David Hayes had him out the first week of this year’s racing season and he faced 95+ handicap foes with an even lighter impost of 113 pounds. Despite a slower pace, he dominated by a length in 1:08.11. Since his rating was only increased by 10 points off that win, he was still eligible for class 2 company and he faced them on Sept. 26.

However, he had to carry 133 pounds and with the rail way out at the C+3 position, he was far back early. Turning for home, Zac Purton knew swinging wide would not work so he picked his way through traffic down on the inside to get up for second. Even with his massive size, Naboo Attack showed he is nimble enough to run between horses and considering the weight he carried and trip he endured, it was a stakes-quality effort.

The only real blemish on his record was his stakes debut at Sha Tin in the Premier Bowl Handicap (G2). Carrying 114 pounds and sent off as the second choice in the wagering, Naboo Attack — with his fourth different rider in four races in Hong Kong — had trouble down the backstretch out of the gate which kept him stuck down on the inside. When he looked for room turning for home, the hole closed and for the first time did not show his lethal, late kick.

Undaunted, Hayes brought him back five weeks later for the BOCHK Jockey Club Sprint (G2) and the big guy was back. Carrying 123 pounds and Zac Purton, he languished far back early with a first 400 meters run in 24.73 seconds and then began to catch up. A second 400-meter section in 21.55 seconds got him into contention and through the stretch he passed all but the red-hot Lucky Patch. His final time of 1:08.11 was good enough to win this race most years and he gets Karis Teetan who rode him to victory back in September.

Of the local sprinters, I feel Naboo Attack is the best and still has some upside. He ran sub 22-second last 400-meter sectionals in three of his four starts this season and can shade 1:08 on any day. The Japanese contingent is led by the defending champion Danon Smash and will be tough as always but local sprinters have won six of the last seven runnings and horses like Naboo Attack and Lucky Patch have emerged as a new generation of domestic stars.

A word of caution: fasten your seatbelts since this race will not be decided until the final strides.

The post Hong Kong Racing Study Guide: After Name Change, Naboo Attack On The Upswing In Time For Hong Kong Sprint appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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