Hill's Peak to scale heights
Peak Power, all dressed up with no where to go when a most unlucky loser last time, can make amends in the final event on tonight's mixed Sha Tin card which features a fantastic $36.9 million Triple Trio jackpot.
The David Hill-trained Peak Power has been improving all season and this is the time of year when Hill's runners, especially his youngsters, habitually hit their straps.
Two starts ago Peak Power came through to win over 1,400 metres in Class Four, beating Medic Hero and Derek's Choice by a head and a neck.
Hill's son of Be My Native, looked a nice youngster in the process but maybe not that much better than a top of Class Four, bottom of Class Three performer.
But last time, when stepped up to a mile for the first time, he should have won by a good length or so in a competitive Class Three handicap but he was denied a run on the far rail for something like the entire last 100 to 150 metres and finished sixth beaten 1.75 lengths by City Patrol.
The move to a mile clearly helped Peak Power whose sire, Be My Native was also the sire of Hill's legendary River Verdon and is a noted influence for stamina.
But it may also be time itself, and Hill's patient style of preparation which is seeing Peak Power come to himself with a third of the season left to run. He undoubtedly should have won last time and the way he is progressing from race to race, he should be even harder to beat tonight.
What's more, Eric Saint-Martin, who rode him last time, will be fully aware of the horse he has under him and that he would have won convincingly but for bad luck in running last time. That should give the accomplished Frenchman plenty of confidence.
Kiwi Star could be the surprise package of the race.
He's blinkered for the first time this season and is down to a seemingly dangerous mark after a series of lacklustre efforts.
But last time he ran as if he was on the way to back to form and since then he appears to have worked with an added zest.
He's Steven King's last ride as a Hong Kong-based jockey and is likely to be right there in the firing line. He might also be a shade of odds.
Surplus is racing consistently well and has to be one of the dangers and a leading quinella leg with Peak Power. Howard Cheng takes a handy seven pounds from his back.
Koh-I-Noor is standing training well after a belated reappearance and is another worth quinella consideration with Peak Power.
There has been plenty to like about Koh-I-Noor's two runs back this term and prior to that he was very much on the upgrade.
Winning Lad has raced himself to full fitness as well as dropping to a realistic handicap rating in the process.
He shouldn't be too far away while the likes of Winning Years and Bayview King also come into tierce consideration.
Elsewhere on the programme, the opening event looks ripe for a quinella attack.
It's My Day is a sprinter through and through which is why he won when dropped back to a 1,000 metres last time.
He should take plenty of beating again over 1,150 metres on the dirt as he's such a brilliant worker and has drawn well in barrier four.
Just Perfect, who chased him home last time, could again provide most danger. He handles the dirt and looks to have really come to himself now for trainer David Oughton.
Silver Collector remains on a good mark after his last-start dirt success but is going to have to work hard again from stall 13.
Spot On, down in grade, and Top Quality, look best of the others in a race which can probably be whittled down to a handful of chances and there aren't too many contests these days you can say that about.