Emphasis' stocks high
Debonair English trainer David Oughton can return to the scene of Legitimate's staying triumph on Sunday and take the featured Stock Exchange Challenge Cup at Happy Valley tonight.
This time another of his stable's stayers, the somewhat enigmatic Emphasis, can follow up on a couple of recent worthwhile efforts and strike silver for Oughton, whose team have been in good form for some time.
Emphasis was ridden by Kieren Fallon at his last start over 2,200 metres at the Valley and finished a neck second to Full Speed Ahead.
Over tonight's trip of 1,800 metres two starts back, Emphasis led for some way before being run down by the now-retired Cottage View and Sensible Choice.
It was a good effort, with stable jockey Alan Munro adopting aggressive, adventurous tactics which almost paid off.
Emphasis does not seem to have regressed in the interim and should come into this in tip-top shape.
He does seem to run best when on the pace, or making it, and one would expect to see Munro pursue similar tactics tonight.
Emphasis, however, has not drawn well but there is a natural leader in the race in Elite, who might stretch them out early.
From the chute at the top of the home straight, Munro should be able to angle across to get close to the fence before the first bend.
Fallon, not required for Emphasis, has landed the ride on Alex Wong Siu-tan's God Of Wealth and it is exactly this type of horse on which the British champion has been winning repeatedly.
God Of Wealth is a definite chance in the race but is really no more than that.
He will probably jump at around 7-1 and it would be silly not to include him in quinellas and tierce bets considering the way in which Fallon has been riding.
An interesting runner is Flags Up, from the stable of Geoff Lane, who will be ridden in this Class Three event by former top apprentice, Eddie W. M. Lai.
Flags Up was tried course and distance earlier in the season and failed. He finished almost four lengths adrift of Jade Dynasty and Rugby Supreme in a pre-Christmas trophy race.
But on form like that, he is worth taking a chance with as his recent efforts have been solid.
Flags Up was a winner over 1,600 metres at Sha Tin for Munro and then claimer Alex K. S. Yu made a mockery of the 30-1 price when he came from near the rear to finish a flying third over 1,400 metres.
He was doing his best work close home and certainly looked capable of running out much more than the distance available that day.
Topweight Top Light is no slouch either and came from near last to finish a length fourth to Charming Guest at his last start. That was over 1,650 metres at the Valley and his final effort also suggested that this son of Last Tycoon might handle the extra distance.
He did fail over 2,200 metres at the Valley earlier in the season but that was considerably tougher.
In what is an open contest, there will be support for Strategic Move and it might not be misplaced.
Patrick Biancone's stayer has been in decent form lately but a win has eluded him.
Strategic Move has been close and run well. He is another worth bearing in mind.
Last-start winner Electronic Dragon has gone up a routine seven points for his success and is not weighted out of it.
With the ever-dangerous Steven King aboard he has claims.