Indy's Gem ready to sparkle
Indy's Gem has not won in over two years but the son of A P Indy can get back to top form by landing the feature event on tonight's eight-race card at Happy Valley, the Cricket Club Valley Stakes.
David Oughton's lightly-framed gelding was a beaten favourite on his last start but did have legitimate excuses. The good-to-yielding track certainly hampered his chances and he may have been stretched by the 1,800-metre trip, particularly with the conditions making it even more of a test.
The move back to the Valley mile tonight looks perfect and, providing he gets decent underfoot conditions, he will take some beating. It does not look an overly strong contest, and Indy's Gem is going to be right in the firing line from barrier two.
One of the main dangers has to be Tony Cruz's last-start winner D'Or Win, who may prove hard to catch out on the lead. He had been knocking on the door prior to his win, but he was very well rated in front by Felix Coetzee on that occasion and beat a rather moderate field. He has to be given respect because of where he will be positioned in the run from the inside barrier, but this event does appear to have a little more depth.
Smart Horse has won two of his last three starts, but there have to be serious doubts about his chances as he has only raced at Happy Valley on three occasions and has been well beaten every time. With both of the four-year-old's recent wins coming at Sha Tin, and a disappointing 10th placing at Happy Valley over this course and distance in between, he looks a serious risk.
Tony Millard's Arriba-Arriba looks a better option, and he could be better value as well. He was quite impressive in a recent barrier trial and caught the eye last time when finishing off strongly to take third behind the progressive Triccolo.
Geoff Lane has revitalised World Star, who will be bidding for his fourth win in five starts tonight. With apprentice Way Leung's claim, he will have a postage stamp weight on his back and must have a chance to make the frame. The slight concern is that it did take a vigorous ride from Shane Dye to score last time, and from barrier 10 tonight he could have a tough run through the race.
Telecom Prince is a multiple winner over course and distance and should be a real value chance. He has been unlucky not to have won this season but will appreciate the move back to Happy Valley.
Of the rest, Sir Galway appears to have had enough for the season, while Malayan Pearl moved better in a recent barrier trial but has been plagued with problems.
In the opening event Alex Wong Yu-on has a terrific chance with Bumper Supreme, who impressed on his debut when finishing fourth to Perfect Sport. He was well supported in the market on that occasion following an impressive barrier trial at Happy Valley, and perhaps the move to that track this evening will make all the difference. He has drawn perfectly in barrier one, and from there Frenchman Eric Legrix will have an easy task to give the son of Slavic the run of the 1,000-metre race.
Hardest to beat should be Top Winner, who has run creditably on his last two starts over course and distance. He has been disadvantaged on his recent starts by wide barriers but has drawn ideally in gate two tonight.
Douglas Whyte will ride Winning Mascot, who has fallen a long way down the handicap. He put in a fairly good effort over this same trip last time when Jimmy Ting had to work hard from a wide barrier in order to get across and lead the field. The early use that was made of him took its toll late in the race as he faded into fifth, but he was only beaten a length and half. He appears to have struck a marginally easier field here and should be right in the finish.
Amity won a much weaker contest last time but, while he looks well suited over the minimum trip, there did not appear to be much in reserve and he is unlikely to have such an easy run again. Super Elite may be one for the future but the step back in distance does not appear entirely suitable and he may be worth keeping an eye on for the future.