It's easy being Green
Red In Green can make the most of barrier one and a voluntary demotion into Class Four by taking the fifth event on this afternoon's Happy Valley card.
The David Hayes-trained three-year-old benefited greatly for a move from 1,000-metre Valley dashes to a mile at Sha Tin last time when holding on a shade comfortably from Dull Lead, the pair clear of third-placed Sir Timah.
When the first two dominate in this manner it is usually a sign of strong form. The clock adds its objective assessment to that as Red In Green recorded a smart Topspeed figure, one certainly in excess of what is usually required to win an ordinary Class Four mile contest at the Valley such as he's in today.
Red In Green had earlier shaped well over the Valley's 1,000 metres. Indeed, his debut last was just about the best last seen all season. He repeated that promise next time and then showed admirable tenacity when rallying to keep the promising Dull Lead at bay.
There was only a head in it on the line but it was hard not to get the impression that Red In Green had a bit more in reserve and was just doing enough to win.
He was also more green than red when let down by Basil Marcus and did not instantly know how to respond when off the bridle.
The experience of being in a battle for the first time should have stood him in good stead and could well lead to significant improvement this afternoon, both mentally and physically. Nor does he look to have too much to beat.
Gold Flask has good natural pace and has been racing well since more patient tactics were adopted. He has to be a quinella or tierce hope behind Red In Green, especially with trainer Andy Leung's team in such fine form and jockey Brett Doyle riding as well as anyone.
Spartan stuck to his task well to run the quinella last time but it was a weak race.
Applause For Me is fitter but it is on On Fire who could be the best quinella chance. He had excuses last time and appears to have come to himself in trackwork. Sky Protector would be worth throwing into the tierce if he were at reasonable odds. The Valley mile could well be his best course and distance.
He ran much better two starts ago and found 1,200 metres too short last time.
Lucky Guest goes well this distance but while New Tone has plenty of ability, he's got a good deal more temperament and has looked decidedly reluctant to go through with his effort the last twice.
Elsewhere, Win Perfection is taken to get the better of newcomer Spot On in the opening griffin event. One of these two should win and they could well dominate their rivals.
Winning Pet could be a good outsider in the second. He was unlucky not to finish much closer last time and should strip significantly fitter for the outing.
Tea For You also appears to have turned the corner and could return to a semblance of his old Valley form in this second event.