Dive in to Hill's Osprey Reef
Osprey Reef might just be racing here for one more season the way he is shaping for Wednesday's Class Six event at Happy Valley.
Much is going to depend, as per usual at the Valley, on the draw as racing takes place with the rail out to the C+3 position. But if Osprey Reef gets a half decent draw he looks set to be highly competitive.
Trainer David Hill yesterday asked him to sprint the last 400 metres of his 800-metre hitout and he came home in a useful 22.5 seconds for an overall time of 53.9 under his riding boy.
He looks well and, if anything, this last-start dirt winner is going better than at any time of the season.
This is also Hill's time of the year as his patient style of training means that his horses come into the season's home stretch a little bit fresher than many of their rivals.
And it is hard to fault Osprey Reef's recent efforts overall as besides winning on the dirt, he's put together a series of good efforts on the grass at both Sha Tin and Happy Valley over 1,400 metres to a mile. He's been finishing really strongly, despite sometimes being trapped wide or forced to travel wide on tracks where there has been a strong inside bias.
On Wednesday night he's finally at a more suitable 1,800-metre trip and appears set from his work, and his form, to give a very good account of himself.
At the other end of the classifications, the Ivan Allan-trained Man Of Honour continues to impress in the mornings.
He's had to work for his living over the past few months and even ran in the recent Champions & Chater Cup where he acquitted himself well given he was disadvantaged by the set weights and doesn't see out 2,400 metres.
He's back to a much more realistic 1,800 metres on Wednesday night. He will have to defy an onerous 140 pounds but his work suggests he's ready to go well. Yesterday he clocked a smooth 49.4 for his 800 metres in company with stablemate Namjong Success and that is about as quick as Allan ever asks them to go.
Scenic Wonder loves the Valley and has trialled well since returning abnormally distressed after a dirt run behind Natural Winner last time out.
He's in the feature Cricket Club Valley Stakes on Wednesday for which trainer Lawrie Fownes put a solid 800 metres into him yesterday morning.
Scenic Wonder came through it in 50 flat and looks set to appreciate the return to the city venue.
Fownes also has his diminutive Stoic moving fluently. He's engaged in the Class Four mile contest and also likes the Valley's twists and turns.