Champion jockey Craig Williams has no doubts unbeaten three-year-old Popovich will measure up to top company in Hong Kong.
The son of Showcasing made it two wins from as many starts at Sandown on Wednesday when he took out the Ladbrokes Bet Better Hcp (1300m).
Owned by expatriate Australians David Price and Jenny Chapman, Popovich is destined to do his future racing in Hong Kong.
Williams rode successfully in Hong Kong for some time and headed to Sha Tin last Sunday for a Group One meeting.
“I had dinner with David and Jenny on Sunday night and we spoke about the prospects of this horse,” Williams said.
“Normally he would already be in Hong Kong after his first win, but they changed the system and he didn’t have a high enough rating, so you had to see him again in this race.
“David and Jenny’s operation is to sell horses to Hong Kong as they have done over the past decade and this horse fits a very nice permit.”
Sent out the $2.90 favourite, Popovich scored by 1-3/4 lengths from Data Point ($9) with Loyalty Man ($11) another half-length third.
“What you saw today is not the finished product,” Williams said.
“That’s what is so exciting about him.
“If he stays here he would be in the feature races but I’ll be looking forward to see him get to Class One in Hong Kong.”
Williams said he was forced to go to the front after being trapped five and six wide in the early part of the race after giving the gelding a dig out of the barriers.
He said Popovich was lost in front and ideally needed a horse to sit off.
“He showed how good he is by doing it upside down to what he likes,” Williams said.
Williams completed a treble with wins on Egypt in the Schweppes Handicap and Bascule in the Le Pine Funerals Handicap.
He credited champion jockey Joao Moreira for his patience aboard Egypt after being held up for a run.
“I’ve been watching a lot of tapes of Joao Moreira,” Williams said.
“You never stop learning in this game and it’s amazing to see how he does it up there.
“If it (the run) didn’t happen I was going to curse him, but it happened and I will credit him because he taught me a bit more patience.”