Dendranthema Love has plenty in his favour
The step up to a mile and the application of blinkers for the first time are two key ingredients which should collectively spell success for Andy Leung Ting-wah's English import Dendranthema Love in the Golden Years handicap (Race Eight) this afternoon.
This son of 1994 Breeders' Cup Mile (Gr 1, 1,600 metres) winner Barathea has been looking for the step up to this trip following two runs in May, when he stormed home over 1,400 metres on both occasions.
The manner in which he found the line suggested he will relish the extra furlong and, with the blinkers applied, he may be able to settle in a slightly more prominent position. If this proves to be the case, he will not be standing the leaders too much ground when turning for home and if he is able to produce a similar turn of foot then he should prove hard to beat.
The step up to a mile also looks beneficial for last season's leading griffin Dave's Best, who will strip fitter for his last run on May 26 - his first after a three-month break.
Dave's Best has won three times and finished second once from four attempts over the course and distance. Douglas Whyte and Dennis Yip Chor-hong have been in cracking form this season and this fellow gives them strong claims to add to their respective tallies.
There was considerable improvement shown from Red Power on his last outing (May 30) when beaten a neck by Royal Army over 1,600 metres. He stuck on gamely to the line and providing he can hold that form he does look a sound each-way chance.
Tom's First (third), Inverness(sixth) and Five Grains (seventh) also competed in the race won by Royal Army.
The former ran on strongly after turning into the straight near the tail of the field in a steadily run race. It was a decent performance and the faster the tempo this time around the stronger his chances.
On the face of it, Inverness appeared to have every possible chance and after enjoying a charmed run he found little in the concluding stages.
Five Grains took the shortest route home along the rail and was eventually beaten 23/4 lengths. He may have reached his limit in the ratings for the time being.
The pace in this event should be genuine with Amazing Victory and Happy Partners involved. Amazing Victory has been holding his form well but leaves the impression his stamina limitations will be exposed over this journey.
Happy Partners has drawn the outside gate and may have to work a fraction too hard to get to the lead, or, alternatively, be caught wide around the bend. Either way, he has a tough task ahead of him.
Ricky Yiu Poon-fie's Flying Bishop has been consistent all season but his last winning rating was a mark of 79. He is a four-time winner over 1,600 metres at Sha Tin but, from gate 13, the best he could hope for is a minor placing.
Dash Ahead (11th) and Lucky Hands (14th) were both well beaten in a steadily run race won by Dynamic Fun over 2,000 metres on May 30. Although that event wasn't run to suit either, the drop back to the mile this time doesn't look ideal.
There has been some potential shown from Sean Woods' Chinsola on both local starts and while he should appreciate the step up to a mile he is hard to recommend on exposed form.
The recent form of Danehill Warrior has been anything but positive and as he strikes stronger opposition here he should be safely dismissed.
Green Century failed on his only attempt over the course and distance and is, additionally, a risk over the journey.