Valley ace Young Hero ready to strike for Lee
Course specialist Young Hero should be the horse on the rise in the Craigengower Cricket Club Challenge Cup (1,800m) at Happy Valley tonight.
Recently acquired by the Almond Lee Yee-tat yard, Young Hero (Gerald Mosse) has been around the Valley 1,800m four times for two wins, a close second and his last-start fifth to Californiamountain, and is still quite lightly raced overall with only 12 starts.
He looks to have some upside left in general terms and especially in terms of this race.
That last outing was his first start for Lee and it is reasonable to assume he will make some progress for the race on January 9 as it was his first for almost two months.
Young Hero has shown in the past that he doesn't have to get too far out of his ground in these races, so gate five should allow Mosse to stay in touch without overtaxing the Irish-bred five-year-old in the early stages.
No Valley feature would be complete without Caspar Fownes holding a worthwhile chance and that's the case again with Hail The Storm (Olivier Doleuze) now ready to return to his better form after four starts for the season.
Fownes has had to race the six-year-old to fitness and his improvement at the last two starts was clear to all, finishing fourth to Bullish Cash over 1,800m at Sha Tin before a solid third to Full Of Joy over 1,600m last time.
Hail The Storm takes a drop in grade, which coincides nicely with improved fitness and he must be a great show in a wide-open affair.
The Happy Valley Million Challenge has entered its final phase, with the competition ending this month, and connections of Elfhelm may know tonight that they have won it.
Mathematically, Elfhelm can still be beaten, despite his big points lead, but it's a longshot and his 'threats' are all on show this evening.
Dr Possi and Chater Silk go around in race six, while Dim Sum lines up in the final event, but each of them requires a win to be any show of taking the Challenge.
Even if one or more of them triumphs, they would still need another Valley victory in the next two weeks and Elfhelm to not score any more points in the same period.