Triumphant Diamond can get better of Safety First - this time
Four last-start winners make today's Elm Handicap (1,800m) at Sha Tin an intriguing affair, but with a superior turn of foot, the promising Triumphant Diamond is the one that can sparkle again.
The Danny Shum Chap-shing gelding has always promised he would make into a more-than-useful performer and only bad luck has robbed him of having a far better scoreline.
Incredibly, in 12 starts last season he returned on nine times with genuine excuses, ranging from interference to being posted off the track or running into traffic problems.
On the day he finally had the breaks go his way, Triumphant Diamond let down impressively to break his maiden status when defeating the consistent performers Super Fantasy and Wait For Me.
The most important run of last season, in reference to this afternoon's event at least, was when he ran second to Safety First - who will be one of his toughest competitors again - on February 25.
While Safety First enjoyed the run of the race and went on to score despite being wayward in the straight, Triumphant Diamond was checked early, had trouble getting into the clear and arguably should have won instead of being beaten by ? lengths.
He again showed what he was capable at his first task of this term when the breaks went his way, gunning down the promising Dao Dao, who then franked the form by beating Flying Bishop on Sunday.
From the good draw of gate four, Eric Saint-Martin should have Triumphant Diamond perfectly placed on the back of the speed and he will need only a touch of luck to land back-to-back wins.
Safety First is a no frills performer but he has managed to get the job done in workmanlike fashion at three of his last five starts.
The Ricky Yiu Poon-fie-trained gelding opened his new campaign in the best possible way 11 days ago when showing his signature fight under pressure to worry the capable Wise Lover out of the prize.
He will strip fitter for that outing and will relish the rise in distance.
Right Fraar may have failed to make his mark in this class in the past, but on the brilliant display he turned in when resuming on September 9, he will surely make his presence felt.
The wild card is the Tony Millard-trained Kingsgate Glory, who grew a leg last season when blinkers were added, winning three of his last five starts.
The blinkers may have been replaced by a visor for his return but on the way he performed in two lead-up trials suggest he's ready for business, although whether he can give away match fitness to his main dangers remains to be seen.