Mediocre results reflect battered Valley surface
Nothing sent the pulse racing at either meeting in Happy Valley last week, simply more evidence that the surface is not up to the punishment of four meetings in 17 days.
Saturday's action followed the usual pattern, the opening exchanges run on a surface racing of 'good to firm', only for the track to deteriorate quickly, the sandmesh surface riding no faster than 'good' by the third contest.
By the final event of the nine-race card, the speed of the track was more in line with 'good to soft' going.
Even accounting for the fast-deteriorating track, the best time performance on Saturday relative to class was the opening Sing Woo Handicap.
Gold Venture clocked one minute and 11.8 seconds for the Class Five, 1,200-metre race, earning a Topspeed rating of 48 and matching his previous best-time performance.
The weekend's effort still gave no real clues as to whether he was coming back to his best of two years ago, when clocking a speed figure of 68 in Class Three.
By the second section of this handicap, the sixth heat, conditions had slowed to no faster than 'good', but Go Go still won with a solid 42 time figure. That level of rating suggested he ran to his best form of the past couple of years, having clocked a high of one point superior during that period.
The final event, won by Smiling, proved the best of the two divisions of the Blue Pool Handicap, not that the winning time of one minute and 50.9 seconds for the 1,800-metre trip was anything out of the ordinary.
With his apprentice jockey taking off a healthy 10 pounds, Smiling earned a Topspeed rating of 55, 21 points below his best.
However, under a welter burden of 139 pounds, runner-up Success Partners returned a career-best time performance with a time figure of 77, compared to a previous high of 74.
That the first three home, Smiling, Success Partners and Sterling Town, have all proven in the past to enjoy a slow surface, indicates how much the track had deteriorated.
Last Wednesday's seven-race card at the Valley didn't seem to go off quite as badly, but then there was two fewer races and the shape of the meeting was the same.
New Asia Sage opened proceedings with a relatively slick one minute and 51.1 seconds for the 1,800-metre trip, equating to a Topspeed rating of 49.
Successful Years ran second with a 45 time rating, compared to his previous best of 46.
Tea For You also landed the 1,650-metre Class Five Queen's Road Central Handicap in a decent time later in the evening.
In 'good' conditions, he clocked a Topspeed rating of 40.
That represented a good, solid effort, but was still a couple of points off his best, with runner-up Winning Sammy returning a figure of 33 compared to his best of 39.