Luckless Team Work to make amends in style
Team Work got the worst of Happy Valley at his latest outing two weeks ago, but the lightly raced gelding can make a lie of that defeat by grabbing a trophy race tonight in the Indian Recreation Club Challenge Cup (1,200m).
The Me Tsui Yu-sak-trained gelding had improved at every start this season, before he was an ultra-impressive winner over 1,000m at the Valley in January when tried in blinkers for the first time.
But nothing went right from the barrier draw onwards when he returned to that trip last start, with Team Work wide enough to grab a cold one in the beer garden turning for home.
He had nothing left at the finishing end behind Diamond Supreme over 1,000m - finishing closer to last than first - but that was the 'B' course where a wide gate is so often poisoned.
He has gate nine this time around, too, but switching to 1,200m and the kinder 'A' course, Team Work (Olivier Doleuze) can drop in behind the pace, then be too strong at the finish in an open race.
And there is plenty of pace to suit him and the other run-on horses.
Jolly Good Fortune and Belong To Casa are committed leaders, quick horses who like to roll forward, and the likes of Kingston Marble and Lollipop also have the pace to make sure they all have to do a bit of work early.
Brilliant One (Felix Coetzee) and Master Green (Alex Lai Hoi-wing) will also relish the fast pace from nice draws and they are both in great form lately.
The John Size-trained Brilliant One looked a touch unlucky last week behind Confucius Classic when a slow tempo was against him, but he finished his race off well for a close third.
Master Green made up for poor luck at his first two runs in the race behind Diamond Supreme by charging home into third place.
The extra 200m this time looks in his favour and the Peter Ng Bik-kuen-trained four-year-old is ready to break through.
The Andy Leung Ting-wah-trained Kimberley Mines (Way Leung Ming-wai) had not run a bad race until his last outing when he overraced behind Double Luck, but a slightly better gate and the promise of a good speed tonight should bring an improved performance.