Day Or Night, Whyte still can be in the winner's podium
The formidable combination of John Size and Douglas Whyte has a decent chance to land the Kowloon Cricket Club Centenary Cup with lightly raced Day Or Night, who can notch his first win in style at Sha Tin this afternoon.
The French import has adapted reasonably quickly from five local starts, hitting the frame on two of three attempts over 1,800 metres at Sha Tin. The lack of a strong pace was the critical factor in his defeat at the hands of Best Gift on his last run over 2,000m, though it was still a sound performance.
It was hard enough to reel in the leaders with the track bias favouring those racing on the speed, so there was sufficient merit in his effort coming from so far back.
Four of his 13 rivals today also competed in the event won by Best Gift, with only Mine Host (third) finishing just ahead of Day Or Night. There should be a more genuine, faster pace in this event and that will definitely enhance the chances of Day Or Night.
The presence of Lucky Sixer, Dashing Champion, Mighty Hugo, Dr Well and Country Boy will lead to this race being run at a true tempo. The C+3 course is another added bonus for Day Or Night, with 'swoopers' often well suited when the rail is located in the widest position.
The booking of Whyte aboard Day Or Night is a real bonus, and although he may be a slightly shorter price in the market as a result, the tactical acumen of the Durban Demon just might be the difference at the end of the day.
Sean Woods-trained Mine Host must be given serious each-way claims.
Mine Host, who finished third to Best Gift, meets Day Or Night two pounds better in the handicap after dropping that amount for his last performance. Woods is three-handed in this event as he also saddles up Agility and First Among Equals, both more than capable of winning on their best form. The former has hit the frame twice over the course and distance, but was a shade disappointing when well beaten behind Wind Winner over 1,800m at Sha Tin.
It was probably his worst performance but he has been too consistent over the balance of his career to rule out after one poor run.
First Among Equals has the blinkers removed and the side winkers applied for the first time and is well drawn in gate three and must be kept safe.
It is rare for Tony Cruz not to have a decent chance in a feature event and his claims here will rest with Country Boy.
The Danehill gelding has the credentials to prove competitive, having won three of five starts over the course and distance.
In addition, he is clearly in form following a sound effort when runner-up to Green In Blue over 2,200m. Admittedly, Country Boy strikes stronger opposition but is particularly well weighted with 113 pounds and looks a legitimate contender.
John Moore's Able Knight ran well in defeat when fourth to Green Treasure over the course and distance two weeks ago. There is a chance for more progress, but he needs to step up a level to seriously test these.
Mighty Hugo has left the impression he is probably close to his mark in the handicap, and would only appeal as a minor place chance, while Dave's Best may need a little relief in the ratings.
Cypress Hill (seventh), Top Honor (eighth) and Lucky Sixer (11th) were all well beaten in the race won by Best Gift and have quite a bit to find on recent form.
The presence of several on-pace runners will not help the cause of Dashing Champion, who prefers Happy Valley and this distance is as far as he likes.
Meath hasn't impressed from three starts and is best opposed for time being.