05/29/2017 2:10PM

Little Dragon vs. Vanilla in Cafeteria Handicap showdown


Someone’s winning streak will end in Wednesday’s $224,523 Cafeteria Handicap on the all-weather surface at Sha Tin Racecourse in Hong Kong.

Little Dragon has won his last two starts, while Vanilla is on a three-race winning streak. They meet for the first time Wednesday since March 2016, when Little Dragon won a handicap on the all-weather in which Vanilla was 11th.

Little Dragon won class 3 handicaps at about a mile and 50 yards on the all-weather at Sha Tin on March 22 and May 5. The Cafeteria Handicap is a class 2 race, for horses with ratings of 80 to 100, a tougher class than Little Dragon’s last few starts.

Vanilla’s three wins have come in one class 4 race and two class 3 races. A 7-year-old gelding, Vanilla will be well backed on Wednesday due to the presence of leading rider Joao Moreira. Vanilla was favored in his last two races.

The two geldings have similar styles, and are likely to race from off the pace. Little Dragon will carry 119 pounds, while Vanilla has been assigned 126 pounds.

The 129-pound topweight is People’s Knight, who won a class 2 race on the all-weather March 12 in his latest appearance on the surface. People’s Knight was fifth and fourth in handicaps on turf on April 2 and April 23, losing the latter race by a half-length after a wide rally.

Friends of Ka Ying can hit the board. The 5-year-old gelding has been second or third in four starts in a nine-race campaign this season in Hong Kong, but has yet to win during that span.

They will all be chasing King Genki, who finished behind Little Dragon and Vanilla earlier this year but rebounded to win an all-weather race May 13, his first win in 11 starts this season in Hong Kong.

King Genki, who will carry 122 pounds, frequently races on the lead.