Happy Reunion out to turn the tables on Lucky Red
Punters gambled and lost when Happy Reunion went down to Lucky Red at his latest outing, but the Ricky Yiu Poon-fie-trained three-year-old is ready to turn that result around in today's Kowloon Cricket Club Centenary Cup (1,000m) at Sha Tin.
Backed like he was unbeatable, Happy Reunion (Alex Lai Hoi-wing) didn't entirely let supporters down, finishing second to Lucky Red, but just became outpaced in the middle stages when a rampant Native Kid broke up the field with a sharp dash.
Lucky Red, a keen goer most of the time, relished having one go harder than him for a change and was able to keep better tabs on the lead than Happy Reunion and swept clear, looking an easy winner.
But Happy Reunion stuck to his task admirably, reducing the margin to less than a length by the finish and disposing of his remaining rivals in authoritative fashion.
He will be meeting Lucky Red on five pounds better terms this afternoon and, with just three starts under his belt, looks open to more improvement than his conqueror on that occasion.
Happy Reunion's three runs, all over this trip, have yet to see him finish out of the placings and the gelding looks a young horse on the rise.
Drawn out in gate 12, he looks ideally placed to again track up behind the speedsters and they should find him tougher to hold out over the final stages this time around.
His danger looks another lightly raced sprinter on the rise in the Tony Cruz-trained Smart Currency (Marco Chui Kwan-lai), who won down the straight that same afternoon.
But, while Smart Currency does get a weight drop for his rise in grade from Class Four, his times on May 3 don't match those of Happy Reunion, who recorded both a quicker overall time and a quicker finishing sectional.
And going back to their meeting two starts ago, Happy Reunion will meet Smart Currency considerably better at the weights for beating him in Class Four, albeit when Smart Currency was clearly not at his top returning from surgery.
The maiden Extra Special (Jeff Lloyd) looks another danger at longer odds, though his record hardly resembles the consistent performances of Happy Reunion or Smart Currency. When he has performed well, his efforts have been good enough to win in this company, but he has been unreliable at the start.
He charged home for second to Smart Currency last time and gets a nice weight turnaround on that horse, though, on the negative side, he will go to a low draw this time instead of enjoying the best part of the straight from wide out last time.