Valley lord Elfhelm tops charts for consistency

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 January, 2008, 12:00am

Mr Consistent Elfhelm has something that some of his rivals don't seem to have heading into tonight's main race at Happy Valley - the ability to win - and that gives him a great chance of adding one more to his tally in the Cha Kwo Ling Handicap (1,650m).

With no obvious trophy race, the Class Two event is the superior contest on the card and Elfhelm's entry to the grade could well be a winning one for trainer Ricky Yiu Poon-fie and jockey Zac Purton.

The John Moore-trained runners, Sounds Best (Eric Saint-Martin) and Carrizo Creek (Darren Beadman), go into the event with terrific hopes but Elfhelm has that extra something - beyond weights and measures - to win races.

Elfhelm took more than two years to win his first race after arriving as a three-year-old in 2004. He has gone from strength to strength in more recent times as a horse who should have been past his best in terms of age.

In his 12 starts since December 26, 2006, Elfhelm has been first home four times, second three times with two thirds and two fourths as well - how is that for consistency?

Punters won't find all four wins in their form guides because Elfhelm returned a positive after the first of those, but he was certainly first past the post on Boxing Day 2006, even if subsequent events took that win from his career line.

In just over a year, he has hardly run a bad race regardless of pace or luck - and this is from an eight-year-old.

That versatility will be vital tonight in a race where there are many possible scenarios with the speed and no obvious regular leaders.

Contrast Elfhelm with Moore's runners, who have won three races from their 59 starts and their particular idiosyncrasies often make them unlucky.

Carrizo Creek was unlucky at his latest run at Sha Tin when blocked for running at a vital stage in the straight behind Never Look Back. With clear room he may well have won, but clear running is not always his for the asking as the gelding overraces if not covered up and is always a chance to have traffic problems.

Perhaps the most likely leader is the Dennis Yip Chor-hong-trained Dordenma (Felix Coetzee), who got back from a wide gate last time but has often bowled forward when able. Gate three and Coetzee's presence will assist him to play a major role this time.