Hayes sets sights on Specialist
My Specialist can make a winning return to Happy Valley by taking the fifth event on tonight's card.
Dual champion trainer David Hayes set the strapping son of Honor Grades to land a first-time-out gamble at the city venue back in the middle of last December.
It was an extremely well-orchestrated coup from which some won their Christmas money and good luck to them.
Hayes had two newcomers in the race. Stable jockey Basil Marcus rode Surplus and the much less heralded Michael Hills was on board My Specialist.
Surplus needed the outing but Hills sailed home aboard My Specialist at 6.8-1. Since then, My Specialist's career has been interrupted by niggling training setbacks and he's only run twice. He had a long break after that debut win and wasn't seen out again until the final day of the season when he ran a highly creditable third to El Viento and a more patiently ridden Heavenly Wind in a competitive Sha Tin 1,200-metre Class Three event.
He had some in-form types behind such as Rory's Bid, Good Spirit, Happy Boy and Just Perfect who had all come into the race off the back of promising efforts.
My Specialist probably needed that outing after a six-month absence. He probably was also just in needed of his reappearance run this time round when fourth to Universal Winner, again in a Sha Tin Class Three, 1,200-metre contest.
It was an outing which suggested future success was imminent as My Specialist had no luck in running. He was drawn in barrier 10 and trapped wide throughout the entire race under Marcus.
Given the tough run he had, he did well to battle on for fourth, just behind one of tonight's rivals, Winningcombination.
This evening My Specialist jumps from barrier four which should allow Marcus to take up a much better position on him. And he meets Winningcombination on a pound better terms. It isn't much but with so many races decided by a photo, every little bit helps.
Winningcombination, who remains a serious danger, must jump from gate one. That isn't necessarily in his favour as he is nearly always slightly slowly away.
At the Valley's 1,200 metres, with a short run to a dog-leg right-hand turn, to be slightly slowly away can result in being shuffled back through the field.If that happens, Winningcombination may need a generous slice of luck in running or apprentice Henry K. C. Tsang will just have to settle to come around them. Either way, it is unlikely to be easy.
Winning Mascot should have finished closer than he did last time and should strip fitter as so many of Ricky Yiu Poon-fie's horses need their seasonal debuts. But Winning Mascot, like Happy Forever who hasn't made the expected progress, must jump from an extreme outside barrier. That's tough at this trip.
Sterling Star has solid place claims but finds winning difficult and his work has not been special.
All Win is the type to do better this season, now he's had more time to acclimatise and is another place hope. Harvard could be best of the others.
Elsewhere on the card, Bullish is a very confident choice in the fourth, either Beas Glory or Speed Win should win the last while Tremendous Way has looked in great shape in readiness for the opener and Shine Of Kowloon can go well fresh in the third.