Cruz's sizzling Bearcat set to take Valley by storm
The improvement of Bearcat since joining Tony Cruz's yard has been nothing less than astonishing. Four victories and two seconds from his past six starts speak volumes for his progress and another win appears there for the taking in the last event when the son of Danehill tackles Happy Valley for the first time.
Bearcat's front-running style should be ideally suited by the move to the city circuit, as well as the step up to 1,650 metres. He is competitively weighted, and the form from his last race when beaten by Figures now looks even stronger with that fellow taking out the high quality Chinese New Year Cup last weekend.
The only slight concern for Bearcat backers is the abundance of on-pace runners, which may force Felix Coetzee to work a little harder than he might like in the early stages. However, the horse has shown an ability to settle just behind the pace and kick strongly, which should prove a winning tactic this evening.
Dynamic Fun, Dashing Champion, Bold Winner and Bobo Duck all like to press forward and should ensure a truly run race.
Dynamic Fun would probably prefer a fraction further, but ran very well in defeat when second to Bull's Eye in the January Cup earlier this month.
Now that he has hit form, he looks a winning chance against slightly weaker opposition.
Happy Valley Million Challenge winner Dashing Champion has recorded three wins over the course and distance, two of them this season. The switch back to the city venue is an obvious bonus, and although he is drawn to get the run of the race, he may have reached his limit in the ratings for the time being and appeals more as a minor-place chance.
Bold Winner put in an excellent performance to win on his second local outing, clocking 1.22.4 for the 1,400 metres in the process. The Australian import obviously has much potential, but has a tough task tonight from the outside gate. He is likely to kept wide, and given this will be his first attempt around the city circuit he should be included only if he is at value odds.
Bobo Duck is another potential pace influence, but disappointed on January 7 when weakening to finishing ninth behind Mastery over the course and distance. He was in the perfect spot on that occasion. This looks a stronger contest and he is difficult to recommend.
The drop in grade along with the move to Happy Valley should benefit Kiddyland, who finished third to Darwin over the course and distance back in late November. That sort of form is definitely good enough for him to be competitive. He has excuses on his last couple of starts when not attaining clear running and is one to keep safe.
Cheeky has a decent record over 1,650 metres at Happy Valley, where he has managed a win and a second from two starts. The booking of Douglas Whyte is always a plus and although he must carry top weight of 133 pounds, he can't be ruled out. Tony Millard's Sirocco has won once and never missed the frame when competing over the Valley mile. The main concern is that he has not been in the best of form this season, having failed to finish closer than eighth from four starts. He is entitled to get a good run through the race from gate five, and could be a value chance for a minor placing.
John Moore-trained Classic Master has been holding his form well recently without threatening to win. His overall record at Happy Valley is fair and he faces weaker opposition but we will do well to figure in the finish.
If the pace is strong in the early and middle stages then it should favour the likes of My Chief and Multiwinning. The preference is for the former who is something of a Valley specialist, and has been in terrific form this season. The slow pace did not help his cause last time and he can improve.
Multiwinning has not been in the best form, having finished no closer than eighth from five starts. There is no doubt the longer straight at Sha Tin is more suitable for him, but if the pace is strong enough he could storm into the frame.
Whyte has a good book of rides and has an excellent chance to land the penultimate event with Arabian Wager, who tackles the 1,650 metres for the first time. He scored an effortless victory over the minimum Valley trip on January 7 and look destined to rise higher in the ranks.