Stats don't lie - practice really does makes perfect
Last weekend, one-third of the card was won by horses that were backing-up within a week and providing plenty of support to the argument that runners who race within a week of their last start must be followed.
Sirocco was the most notable winner, taking out the Kwangtung Handicap Cup (Race 24) in fine style after finishing seventh a week earlier in the Chief Executive's Cup.
He turned around the form with the likes of Grand Delight and Palette Natural who both finished ahead of him a week earlier.
Conversely, the lack of race fitness from Wealthy Treasure may have been a telling factor inside the final 100 metres but he ran extremely well in defeat and proved he is not just a wet-tracker.
Asali came with a powerful finish to win his third race from his last four starts, this being his first over the Sha Tin mile (Race 27). Danny Shum Chap-shing has enjoyed a fabulous start to the season and Asali has now won three of five starts under Shum's care.
Beaten favourite Vengeance Of Rain is clearly looking for a longer journey and deserves another chance. He's a nice horse on the way through to bigger things. Porter Ricks was the third winner who raced within a week and displayed plenty of tenacity on his way to victory over 1,400 metres (Race 22). Enamelled (fifth) showed progress from his only run this season and is one to keep safe in the future, along with Silly Boy (sixth) who was patiently ridden and the race was not run to suit late closers like him.
The win of Star Of Shantou over 1,400 metres (Race 20) was typical of a John Size horse that goes on to win more races. It was an excellent effort given the steady sectionals and he looks a decent prospect.
There was also improvement from Gold Sandfield (fifth), who has fallen a long way in the ratings. He will appreciate further and is one to keep safe. Size's Fashion Jewellery (fourth) was hitting the line with plenty of zest in the 1,000 metres (Race 21) contest and there is no doubt the removal of blinkers has sparked major improvement.
He is more relaxed but his inexperienced showd with his reluctance to take the gaps as they appeared - had he done so, he may have finished a good deal closer. Size would appear to have another potential winner with Cornwall Chiefs (Race 23), who was a shade unlucky not to have won over the unsuitable 1,400 metres (Race 23) trip. He is clearly looking for more ground but should be winning in the short term.
Also looking for more ground is Clean Sweep who finished third to Hapi Hapi over 1,200 metres (Race 25). He never threatened to win at any stage but was doing his best work in the concluding stages and will prove competitive over 1,400m and possibly even further.
At Happy Valley last week, Military Option displayed some improvement to finish third to runaway winner Fantastic Win over the mile (Race 11). He has fallen to a competitive mark and can be followed over a similar journey.
Ke Jia Wang had not impressed on his only start last term but ran well to finish fifth behind Majin Buu over 1,200m (Race 16) and there is room for more improvement, particularly if he steps up over further.
ONES TO NOTE:
Fashion Jewellery, Gold Sandfield,