Forget his first-up failure, Diamond can reign supreme
Punters who made Diamond Supreme favourite for his seasonal return didn't get to see much of a run for their money, but the smart sprinter looks ideally placed to bounce back in the Hong Kong Golf Club Centenary Cup (1,000m) at Happy Valley tonight.
Diamond Supreme (Mark du Plessis) has only been beaten once on his merits in five attempts at the Valley 1,000m, and his first run back on September 17 when seventh to Har Har Charms was definitely not one of them.
The bay four-year-old went back in the field in the early stages, as is his usual pattern, but got caught up in a major scrimmage going to the first turn that effectively ended his race.
Critics may argue that Diamond Supreme didn't finish the race off as well as some of his rivals, but it was certainly a run to be forgiven, especially as it was his first time out for the season.
Diamond Supreme looked a sprinter of some promise in two powerful wins over this course last season, and should be even fitter for this assignment.
Du Plessis takes over from apprentice Thomas Yeung Kai-tong and has drawn the golden gate - barrier one - on the C+3 course, which should see him ideally placed in running this time.
With plenty of speed in the race and the right draw, Diamond Supreme looks like getting the right trip off the pace before being too strong in the run home.
His main danger looks the lightly raced Keen Soul (Felix Coetzee), victorious at three of his six runs over the course and making the class rise from a solid first-up win in Class Four.
His margin of success was only narrow and he might have been lucky to beat Magic King, but Keen Soul's win gained some extra marks by the fact he pulled up lame and distressed after the race.
Diamond Supreme's conqueror at his last two attempts on the Valley 1,000m, Har Har Charms (Douglas Whyte), will have admirers again, but he has risen sharply in the ratings since the first of those victories in April.
Nevertheless, the John Size-trained seven-year-old makes his own luck to some extent by going forward in his races, missing the kind of interference that was going on behind him last time out, and he also has drawn well in gate two.
Also drawn well is Master Green (Eddie Lai Wai-ming) in barrier three, and he is ready to put a lacklustre first-up run behind him.
Though he has performed well enough at 1,200m, Master Green's best races have been over this course, including an eye-catching placing behind Diamond Supreme last February.
Ricky Yiu Poon-fie saddles up an interesting newcomer in Happy Progression, but he hardly looks tossed into the race on a 67 rating as an early three-year-old.
He was green in his only run in Australia last November, winning a 900m two-year-old race but, almost a year later, the horses he beat remain maiden performers Down Under.
Mark du Plessis (below) has been given the task of turning things around for Diamond Supreme, who from five Happy Valley runs has registered (wins): 2