09/15/2016 12:20PM

Bad Boy not fully cranked for Yeung UK Handicap

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Bad Boy ended the 2015-16 Hong Kong season with wins in two of his last three starts in April and June. The success has left prominent trainer John Moore hopeful that the 4-year-old Australian-bred Bad Boy can excel in higher-class races, including group-level stakes, in the coming months.

On Sunday at Sha Tin, Bad Boy will have his first start of the new season in the $225,567 Yeung UK Handicap at five furlongs on turf. Bad Boy is part of a field of 14 and needs the race, Moore insists.

“He’ll be slightly underdone for his first start of the season, but there’s plenty of upside to him,” Moore told Hong Kong’s publicity department this week.

Bad Boy, who will be ridden by Australian jockey Sam Clipperton, is the 131-pound highweight in the Yeung UK Handicap. The sprint handicap is the ninth race on a 10-race program that begins at 1 a.m. Eastern on Sunday, or 10 p.m. Pacific on Saturday.

Both of Bad Boy’s wins this year were over five furlongs, or 1,000 meters. Eventually, Moore is hopeful that Bad Boy can be effective at longer distances.

“He’s looking like he might be an out-and-out [five-furlong] horse, but we’re hoping that’s not the case,” Moore said.

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Bad Boy’s rivals include runners with equally promising recent form.

Archippus has also won two of his last three starts, with the wins occurring in five-furlong turf races at Happy Valley Racecourse in March and Sha Tin in May. In between those starts, Archippus was seventh in a six-furlong race on the all-weather track at Happy Valley.

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Adventurer, the low-weighted runner in the race at 111 pounds, has won three consecutive starts, including a five-furlong race at Sha Tin on Sept. 3. Adventurer was assigned 118 pounds, but jockey Jack Wong claims seven pounds.

Adventurer may need a weight advantage in what promises to be a class test. Adventurer’s win streak began in April. All three of the wins have come at five furlongs.

Triumphant Jewel, assigned 122 pounds, is the only other winner during the current season. A 6-year-old Australian-bred gelding, Triumphant Jewel won a five-furlong race at Happy Valley on Sept. 6.