Rewarding Star's time has come to deliver the goods
John Moore's decision to call on in-form apprentice Marco Chui Kwan-lai should reap rewards when the pair team up with Rewarding Star in the opening leg of tomorrow night's Triple Trio at Happy Valley.
Chui heads to the city circuit on the back of a double for his boss, Tony Cruz, on Saturday, three days after capturing the January Cup with a brilliant front-running ride on Californiamountain.
Rewarding Star had a slow start to the season but has come solid in recent months. Shouldering big weights had denied him his winning chance.
He showed a win was imminent four starts back when narrowly beaten by Sure Hero, before being unlucky not to finish closer when a close-up fifth to Rising Win.
He ran well to finish second to Wong's Favourite two starts back when making his 1,800m debut and there was plenty of merit in his last effort when fourth to Spring Smiles on the all-weather track.
The four-year-old looks perfectly placed returning to Happy Valley and with the aid of Chui's five-pound claim, Rewarding Star will carry 126 pounds, which should allow him to land his second success.
His main danger will likely come from front-running Tabbris, who will appreciate returning to Class Five.
The Almond Lee Yee-tat-trained gelding has only raced in the grade on four occasions for three wins, with his only failure coming when he was unable to take up his preferred leading role.
The nine-year-old has struggled in four runs this time in, but he looks likely to get away with a relatively easy time of things in the lead. He is also ideally suited with Thomas Yeung Kai-tong's seven-pound claim.
Others entitled to consideration are Mega Bullet, making his Class Five debut, Pacific Alliance and Pillow King, while Sparkle is capable of getting into the action if he has any luck from the outside alley.
In the middle pin, a return to 1,800m looks ideal for Meath, who should continue a terrific run of form for the Me Tsui Yu-sak stable.
Tsui prepared a double at Sha Tin on Saturday with Beautiful Choice and Silver Wraith. He has saddled five winners from his last 17 runners.
Meath hasn't had the best of luck this season, returning with excuses at his last three attempts, but he finds the perfect event to return to winning form.
His biggest dangers will come from Centennial Smile, Sweet Baby, Vintage Gold and Happy All Around, while regular bridesmaid Vincere is entitled to consideration, despite a wide alley.
In the final leg, it's hard to go past Lightning Speed when looking for a banker, given he has really turned the corner since the blinkers were added. He was luckless at his first run in the headgear, before reeling off three wins on the trot for Douglas Whyte.
The Paul O'Sullivan-trained gelding remains nicely placed in Class Four, despite a big weight. He is not going to find this event any tougher than his last success over Frontier and Champion Lad.
Champion Lad will be the toughest to beat as he gets a six-pound swing in the weights from their last meeting, while other worthy inclusions are Add The Fun, King Of Fish, Key Winner and Pure Alpha.
To the point
With the aid of Marco Chui's five-pound claim, Rewarding Star will carry this many pounds: 126