Extra distance likely to suit Flash Knight
Flash Knight was his own worst enemy two starts back when beaten as favourite, but a more settled last-start effort indicates the John Moore-trained four-year-old is ready for the step back up to a mile in the final leg of Sunday's Triple Trio at Sha Tin.
Brett Prebble took over from Olivier Doleuze and managed to get Flash Knight to come back to him, taking a hold from gate eight, before he unwound with a withering sprint to miss by a short head.
Prebble caught cover going forward three wide and peeled off in the straight, only just failing to run down Supreme Flight at the end of 1,400m, the winner getting a much softer run, but the key was the way Flash Knight relaxed from the start.
Doeluze had a tougher time a start earlier, Flash Knight doing everything wrong as he resented being taken back in the field, fighting every inch of the way with his rider, until he finally faded to be beaten more than eight lengths.
Flash Knight was tried at his second local start over a mile and failed badly, but the signs are there that the English-bred will appreciate the extra distance.
He was taking ground off Supreme Flight late and won his second start over 1,655m, right-handed, at Leicester - both indications he will handle the forgiving Sha Tin 1,600m.
Barrier 11 and top weight doesn't read well for Flash Knight, but finding some speed to run-off might be the horse's biggest problem in a contest with no noted leaders.
Prebble has formed a deadly combination with Moore. The 30 per cent winning strike rate is impressive enough, but when you boil that down to rides since April 1, when Prebble began riding for Moore more regularly, the statistic spikes at an incredible 38 per cent, with all of six of his wins coming in little over a month.
Another to include is Danny Shum Chap-shing's Scarlet Camellia, who doesn't seem to be living up to the big opinion of his trainer and was handily beaten by Flash Knight last start, but should relish the step up in trip. Drawn one is Winning Apex (Doleuze), while The Only Kid (Weichong Marwing) is chasing three straight as he jumps into Class Three and Ancient Kingdom tackles the trip for the first time.
Prebble has another wide gate to navigate from in the opening leg, a Class Four over 1,400m, but Mighty K should be included from barrier 13 regardless and can go in as a banker.
O'Halo (Felix Coetzee) will be better for three confidence- and fitness-boosting runs on the dirt. The three-year-old returns to the turf and finds a winnable race. Others to consider are the well-drawn Enjoy The Fun (Tye Angland) and Sunshine Boy (Howard Cheng Yue-tin).
In the middle pin, a solid trial by Let's Goal (Marwing) indicates he could return to form and he goes in as a banker.
Throw in Happy Cha Cha (Jeff Lloyd), Glory Of India (Coetzee), Euphemisim (Clark) and Soldier (Terry Wong Chi-wai).