Rice Field primed to get his career back on track
The John Moore stable put itself on the scoreboard with Lucky Hero on Sunday and is ready to continue the good work at today's Sha Tin meeting with a back-in-form Rice Field in the Beech Handicap (1,600m).
The Class Two is the highest rating race on the card and with the benefit of a run, Rice Field (Eric Saint-Martin) finds himself poised to win his first race since March last year.
That win off a rating of 89 took Rice Field into the mid-90s, but the gelding was unable to measure up and struggled through last season, making his way back down into Class Two in slow increments.
He finished a sound third over this course in May three starts ago to suggest he was getting back to winning form and returned for the new term with a solid third to promising Packing Winner to cement that suggestion.
With the benefit of that run under his belt, he looks a strong chance to return to the winner's stall over a track and distance where his record has been handy, including two victories.
His main opposition should come from another on the comeback trail, Thistle King (Douglas Whyte). He, too, had his problems last season, including a bleeding attack in January.
However, the lightly raced six-year-old was another to indicate something better in the offing when he finished fifth to Pocket Money on opening day.
Still above himself after the lengthy break, Thistle King raced wide and a little keen but was still able to box on just over two lengths from the winner.
With the John Size stable starting the season with multiple wins at each Sha Tin meeting and a powerful team out again this afternoon, Thistle King has the right team behind him to make his presence felt once more and has the best draw in gate one.
The one query that remains with him is the mile distance as he has only won at 1,200m and 1,400m, but this event does not promise to be a stern test of stamina.
The Dennis Yip Chor-hong-trained Lhojong (Howard Cheng Yue-tin) was hot and cold last season but did manage to win at Happy Valley and raced well on occasions at Sha Tin to say he can be effective at this bigger track, too.