Certainty for in-form Hayes
David Hayes is leading the training ranks at this early stage in the season and he has every chance of adding to his tally with Certainty in the final event at Happy Valley this evening.
The speedy son of Euclase has a fine record at the city track over the minimum trip, where he has finished in the first three in six of his seven starts, including three victories. He also has a good record when fresh, as he displayed last season when winning his first start by an impressive three lengths.
Certainty's gate-speed is quite astonishing and he is without doubt one of the quickest horses in Hong Kong over the first furlong. It is the last quarter where races are won, though, and Certainty has proved himself to be hard to run down as well.
The slight concern could be that there are several natural leaders in this event, which could put some early pressure on Certainty. Expedient, Conjuring, Merry Merry and It's My Day all like to dictate and they will ensure a fast pace.
Expedient has made the frame in all three starts over the minimum trip at Happy valley and, having won over further, he is sure to have the stamina to last home. The slight concern is top weight of 131 pounds, but he is meeting slightly easier competition as a result and must have claims.
Andy Leung Ting-wah's Conjuring looked a potential Class One sprinter after winning his first three starts in impressive fashion. Since then he has failed at both attempts over 1,200 metres, so the move back to the minimum trip looks favourable, but he will be running at Happy Valley for the first time. Interestingly, he has won two trials at the city venue and, while race conditions are completely different, he did appear to handle the track very well.
Brian Kan Ping-chee's Merry Merry remains on his highest mark (82) and he is going to have a tough time tonight from a wide gate.
It's My Day won his final two starts of last season, both of which came over the minimum trip at Happy Valley. On the positive side, he has drawn ideally in gate one and will carry a light weight of 113 pounds. However, this is his toughest test to date and he is unlikely to be able to dictate in the lead as he has done in the lower grades.
Derek Cruz's My Honour has won two out of three starts at course and distance and he will be suited by the fast pace. While he may be outpaced early, he should be flying home at the finish and could easily make the frame. Cruz also runs Exultation, who disappointed on his seasonal debut and is hard to make a case for.
Ivan Allan's Success Magic has a 50 per cent winning strike-rate over this trip, having won three from six starts. He will relish the blistering pace and the giant son of Sanction is weighted to go very close. Allan also runs Huangdi, but this looks too sharp for him.
John Moore's Stylish caught the eye in a recent barrier trial and is clearly in good order at present. The slight concern could be that he has been slightly more effective over 1,200 metres. Even so, he is another who could not be ruled out of hitting the frame.
While V-Can is going to struggle from a wide barrier, Geoff Lane's Kev Bushido is worth another look. He has had his share of problems but won his only start over tonight's trip and should get a good run through the race.