Transformed Medico has Valley feature at his mercy
Reformed Medico has everything in his favour to make it back-to-back wins at Happy Valley tonight in the Po Leung Kuk Centenary Cup (1,800m).
The horse, who arrived from Ireland with three wins and two seconds from six starts in 2006, had Derby prospect written all over him, but it all went so wrong.
Not only did he fail to measure up to those ambitions, Medico (Darren Beadman) didn't measure up at all, earning only one minor prize-money cheque in his first nine outings.
Sour and far from at peace in this new world, Medico tumbled down the handicaps in his first year, dropping from Class One until the middle of Class Three before he produced something worthwhile.
When he did, he dealt with a 1,600m field at Sha Tin in dashing fashion, but even that failed to convince trainer John Moore the light at the end of the tunnel was anything but an oncoming train.
In the short term, it looked like he was right, too. More disappointments followed and Medico looked consigned to that group of under-achievers destined to bob up and find a race now and then, without ever delivering on his initial promises.
But the chemistry of horses and time still holds plenty of mysteries. Medico clicked in the latter part of last season and, while the five-year-old wasn't yet winning, he was running well on a consistent basis.
When Medico returned in September, the gelding seemed to, as Moore put it, have finally come to terms with his new home, and he was a certainty beaten on his opening sortie for the term under a big weight in Class Three.
Stepped up to a higher grade last time out, Medico made no mistake after heavy support, winning over 1,800m with something in hand and leaving every impression the run is far from over yet.
In tonight's race, Beadman looks to have drawn ideally in gate five to plant the gelding behind likely pacemakers Nilometer (Jacky Tong Chi-kit), Lu Yue and Iron Fist, and he only has to produce the same kick as he has been doing to be the one to beat.
If there is a query, it is his only previous run at Happy Valley was lacklustre over this course and distance a year ago, but then lacklustre was his nickname at that stage.
The John Size-trained Sight Winner (Douglas Whyte) has been stalled on his rating of 101 for a while, and has no easy task with his 133 pound handicap. He has had little luck with draws in two starts this season at Sha Tin, then Happy Valley, and has finally drawn a starting position that should allow him to get into the race.
Andreas Schutz has Time Supreme (Howard Cheng Yue-tin) racing well in two starts this term, and the talented gelding should once again be storming home from the rear, while Nilometer and Dash Ahead have knockout claims under light handicaps.