Three-year-old sensation Aethero is a deserved favourite for Sunday’s Group One Hong Kong Sprint but he isn’t past the post just yet.
Currently, he is the ‘talk of the town’ after his sensational win in the Group Two J.C. Sprint (1200m) where he beat home a field of top-class runners.
The Sebring gelding ran his rivals off their legs, running the 1200m in a blistering 1:07.58 which was only a tick outside the track record of 1:07.50 set in 2007 by Sacred Kingdom.
The three-year-old broke the track record for the 1000m trip in his start prior to the J.C Sprint, where he ran the journey in 54.69 secs, breaking the record of 54.70 secs, which ironically was also set by Sacred Kingdom.
There are no arguments this is one very special race horse but there are certain issues that must be borne in mind before he steps out on Sunday (currently) as a $2.05 favourite with BetEasy.
Aethero was third-up in the J.C Sprint, coming off that record-breaking win over the 1000m sprint.
Meanwhile, of the beaten brigade in the same race, the minor placegetters, namely Hot King Prawn and Beat The Clock were both resuming from ‘lengthy’ spells and did a magnificent job to finish as close as they did to Aethero.
Hot King Prawn can only be described as a true track specialist, winning eight of his 11 starts at Sha Tin. He is a two-time Group Two winner having won the 2018 Premier Bowl and the J.C Sprint in the same year, at the Sha Tin track.
The John Size-trained grey gelding was having his first start after almost 12 months off the scene and despite finishing two lengths in arrears of Aethero, he was taking ground of him over the final 100 metres.
It is also worth noting, Hot King Prawn in unbeaten second-up, boasting a four-from-four record.
Beat The Clock lined up in the J.C Sprint under similar circumstances to his stablemate, Hot King Prawn.
The Hinchinbrook gelding was resuming from a 29-week spell after he ended his last campaign finishing second in the Group One Jubilee Cup, then second in the Group Two Sprint Cup and finally a victory in the Group One Chairman Sprint, all of which were run at Sha Tin.
Beat The Clock holds one of the best resumes by any horse which shows from his 22 starts, he is yet to miss a top-three finish, boasting eight wins (all at Sha Tin) and 14 minor placings.
Ironically, he is yet to win second-up but still finished in the money in all four second-up runs.
He will strip a lot fitter from his third placing in the J.C Sprint and he meets Aethero 2.5kgs better at the weights this time.
Another of the John Size-trained brigade to line up here is Full Of Beauty, who was a fast finishing fourth in the J.C Sprint.
The Darci Brahma gelding drew the outside gate (13) and settled last. Passing the 400m, he was still seven lengths adrift but closed strongly to finish less than four lengths from Aethero in the end.
D B Pin is yet another runner from the Size stable who, like Hot King Prawn, was resuming from 43 weeks in the paddock and wasn’t disgraced when finishing sixth in the J.C Sprint.
The seven-year-old is also a Sha Tin specialist boasting four wins and eight placings from his 16 starts at the track.
He is more than capable of showing great improvement here as he goes in second-up.
Its acknowledged that Aethero is a very promising three-year-old who appears to have a big future, however his task on Sunday will be a lot harder than some may believe and the $2.05 currently on offer is, in my opinion, ‘way’ unders in a race of this nature.
I’m of the opinion that the horse who could show up here is Hot King Prawn.
Boasting nine wins from 11 starts, eight of them at Sha Tin and going into Sunday’s race unbeaten when second-up, he looks the one more likely to test Aethero the most.
The three-year-old is no doubt the one to beat, but if Hot King Prawn improves as much as I believe he will, then the galloping grey will be looking the winner at some stage in the run home and will take beating.