That winning Feeling
Lightly weighted Triumphant Feeling may prove too strong for stablemate and topweight Hunting Lad in the featured Japan Racing Association Trophy at Sha Tin today.
A small but select field of nine goes to post for the Class One, 1,800-metre event and it is likely that Hunting Lad, with Basil Marcus up, will start favourite.
And he is a logical public elect as he finished third to shock winner Desert Fox and the excellent Johan Cruyff at his last start. Johan Cruyff, like Hunting Lad and Triumphant Feeling, is in the care of champion trainer David Hayes.
Clearly, Hunting Lad is primed to run extremely well but under the race conditions he is forced to give away weight all around and Triumphant Feeling is one who could benefit.
He finished second to Score course and distance last time and was possibly a little unlucky to go under by the minimum margin. He was ridden then, as today, by claimer Howard Y. T. Cheng who found himself crucially short of room early in the straight.
When clear, Triumphant Feeling came home with a wet sail and only just failed to nail Score.
He has come out of the race well and has been working in good order. Given the size of this field, Cheng is not likely to face traffic problems and Triumphant Feeling simply has to give a real sight.
It is quite possible that Hayes could provide the quinella in the race as Hunting Lad is also in grand shape.
Score resumes but may find it hard to confirm form with Triumphant Feeling who is better off with the claim and has only to turn round a short-head defeat.
Score is honest and he's good but he is also about as high up as he would want to be and much the same could be said for Rugby Supreme.
This fellow has come quite a long way in a short time and makes his seasonal debut today. Even if the assessment about his current place in the ratings is wrong, Rugby Supreme faces a major task tackling this trip first-up against horses like the selection and Hunting Lad who have had the benefit of one or two stiff outings.
The same can be said of Prince Albert and the interesting Irish newcomer, Cupid.
Prince Albert had two runs last season before being turned out for the season and he has worked well enough since coming back into training. But he is surely going to need the run.
Cupid has solid overseas form and is well spoken about but only the engagement of maximum claimer Philip C. T. Cheng brings him into the handicap.
The impression given to date by Cupid is that he is coming to hand slowly and trainer David Hill has not been hard on him.
He has unquestionable potential but it is difficult to see him figuring solidly first-up and over this trip.
Of course, shock wins from good horses do happen but it may be best to oppose Cupid on this occasion and wait for more favourable conditions.
En Rapport ran encouragingly last time but still like a horse who would benefit from the outing which was his second of the season.
There is no doubt that long-serving trainer Lawrie Fownes' stable has now clicked into top gear and En Rapport is an each-way chance and a definite for the Tierce.