River running in to form
Yellow River is a very confident selection to bring a bit of Christmas to proceedings by taking the second event on tonight's Happy Valley card.
The Andy Leung-trained three-year-old was one of the most expensive lots at last season's International Sale.
Ever since Leung's owner Ip Yai-wing dug deep to buy him he's worked as if at least capable of scoring in Class Three, let alone against tonight's Class Four rivals.
But he hasn't been the easiest of horses to train. He was going nicely last season but never made it into a race and then next time around his reappearance was delayed due to an abscess in a foot.
When he finally faced the starter for the first time he was unlucky enough to run up against a very useful recruit in the shape of Wylie Wong's Lucky Goal.
Yellow River showed very good speed on debut, leading from Citispeed who gave him little peace in the first half of the 1,200-metre contest whereas Lucky Goal had an easier run in behind.
It wasn't until the final 100 metres that Lucky Goal began to exert his authority as Yellow River's lack of racing condition, and his tougher run, began to take its toll.
In the circumstances it was a promising effort, especially as Lucky Goal progressed to win well on Sunday's fabulous International card.
It is also an effort from which Yellow River appears to have trained on exceptionally well. Prior to that debut run, his trackwork and trials suggested he might well need the outing whereas Lucky Goal had the added advantage of racecourse experience.
Since the run Yellow River has been catching pigeons in the mornings and it will be a surprise if he is beaten.
The draw is also in his favour as he jumps from barrier two with a newcomer on his inside who is ridden by an apprentice who habitually misses the start.
This should allow Jason Weaver to get a smooth rails run on Yellow River and pick off likely leader Monopoly Senior after they've turned for home.
The David Hayes-trained newcomer Solidarity has worked and trialled in encouraging fashion and has to be considered a big danger.
But he is unfavourably drawn out in stall 12. It will be very hard for him to beat the well-drawn Yellow River from out there but he still has enough natural ability to run into the quinella.
Peter Ho has made a very bright start to his training career and can make it win number five courtesy of the newcomer Best Win in the opener.
The Australian-bred private purchase griffin has been working the place down for the last two months and doesn't look to have too much to beat.