Change of luck awaiting Chan
TONY P. H. Chan can break through for his first winner of the season with Bumper Star in tonight's second event at Happy Valley.
Chan hasn't had the best of luck with a number of his runners so far this campaign, including Bumper Star who lost his winning chance at the notoriously awkward first bend on his reappearance when third to Cosmolife over 1,400 metres on the equitrack.
The artificial surface is always a trap for these young, inexperienced horses and, in the circumstances, Bumper Star did really well to get back in the race and all but run the quinella.
The way he stayed on to the line suggested he should handle tonight's mile trip on the grass but he may not get much farther as he is by Carmelite House, a son of Diesis.
Bumper Star has always worked like an above average recruit, certainly well up to winning in Class Four.
He was lightly raced last season, including when pitched in against the best of his generation when he was beaten but far from disgraced when seventh of nine to Flirting Dancer in the Kukri Trophy.
This season's third to Cosmolife has confirmed that he's trained on and his last gallop on Monday morning left the clear impression that he's ready to progress from that third and go and win his race.
Chan worked him with his Class Three-rated stablemate, Leadership, and Bumper Star left him standing as they quickened up through their final quarter.
As much as Bumper Star is very strongly fancied to win this second event, the quinella is not easy to find.
Peter Ng Bik-kuen's Goodcape Treasure is a specialist over course and distance but was allowed to dominate from the front when making a winning reappearance. It is doubtful if he will have it so easy in the lead tonight.
Golden Era will appreciate the blinkers being taken off now that he's back to a mile. He's improving.
Bruce Hutchison's Hankow Star must be considered. He had good form early on last season, including when beating Maniwin over a mile at Sha Tin and then dropping back in distance to run a good second to King Prawn over 1,235 metres at the Valley.
Hankow Star kept on well on his reappearance to be fifth to Cosmolife, just under two lengths behind Bumper Star.
There is likely to be less between them tonight as Hankow Star appeared to need the run more than Bumper Star and will also derive more benefit from the transition from 1,400 metres on the dirt to a mile on the grass.
Hankow Star also worked well on Monday, this time on the inside track.
Fit For Royalty didn't really handle the equitrack last time and also merits quinella respect.
But Blazing Fire, while another course and distance specialist, may need the run to come to peak condition.
The last sees a fascinating sprint clash in which Mick Kinane's improving mount, Classabove, could just run out the winner from Super Structure.
Classabove ran a cracker when just failing to catch My Silvero down the straight 1,000 metres the weekend before last and looks to have made good progress since.
He's just the sprint type who could make considerable improvement this season and is worth following.
Geoff Lane's Jacko and Alex Wong Siu-tan's Natural Talent look the only other two to consider in this race which looks good for quinella wagers.
There should also be some good quinella bets in the fifth where L'Enjoleur is improving and looks ready to win from Owners Spirit, who's working well, and Monopoly who is another progressive individual. Good Income looks the only other contender.
Winning Stallion is worth a bet in the third after two top runs when narrowly beaten by Cheguei and Royal Horse.
Miss Piggy should go very close in the sixth and Clear Classic in the second on what may turn out to be a good betting night.