Making a Legitimate case
Smart stayer Legitimate has shown a distinct liking for Happy Valley in the past and can step up on a recent top effort to score in the Class One, 1,800-metre Blake Garden Handicap at the city track tonight.
It is an intriguing event and Legitimate is coming back in distance from 2,200 metres at his last start when he finished a fighting second to Fat Choy Together at the Valley.
Since then Legitimate, who usually takes time to come to himself, has been kept ticking over and is a top chance in what could turn into a decidedly competitive event.
The slight worry about Legitimate is the drop in distance after his exertions over the longer trip. Tonight's distance would unquestionably be in his favour at any other time and if he reproduces his best form he will be hard to beat.
It has not been a top season for the David Oughton stable and a win from Legitimate would be a bonus for the trainer who goes into the event double-handed as he also has Gaylord involved.
And Gaylord, too, will have his admirers. On his day he is adept at this distance and another one who loves the Valley as he showed a couple of starts back under Basil Marcus.
A stable quinella is by no means out of the question but there will also be solid support for other camps.
The Moore stable has turned around significantly in recent weeks and horses from the yard are well worth taking a second look at and track specialist Pinky Long Legs is definitely in that category.
But Pinky Long Legs has gone quite a long way up and is not finding it as easy now as was the case last season.
The stable's other runner Winning Lad ran promisingly last time and is suited by the trip and track so is worth consideration.
The Tony Cruz-trained Drifting Away was a disappointment behind Fat Choy Together last time so it is harder to make a case for him - particularly in the presence of Legitimate.
Drifting Away comes back in distance but the worry with him may also be that he is as high in the ratings as he would want to be. He is from a stable in form and has shown enough round the city track before to add further interest to a race which is by no means a routine affair.
Genius also has worthwhile form at Happy Valley and bypassed a race at Sha Tin at the weekend for this contest.
He easily measured up last time when beating the well-touted Gold Mark at Sha Tin and looks one to keep very safe. Genius has taken time to show the potential that a number of judges felt he possessed but now that he has come through so confidently, he could continue to oblige.
Golden Duke popped up at big odds last time when finishing second to Billion Win over 1,600 metres at Sha Tin and that is rock-solid good form.
Horses from the stable of Brian Kan Ping-chee are running in top form at the moment and Golden Duke, although not likely to win, is another one to consider for the tierce.
The Peter Ho-trained topweight Equine Supremo also showed a recent return to form and is not hopeless, although his better efforts have been at Sha Tin.