Forget the draw, improving Chevalier King is the one
Even a tricky draw may not be enough to stop improving three-year-old Chevalier King taking himself to the next level in the St George's Challenge Cup (1,000m) at Happy Valley tonight.
The John Moore-trained gelding has left punters with burned fingers on more than one occasion after starting favourite at his past four starts, but bettors got it right last time over this course and distance.
Backed from 6-1 to 2.7 favourite, Chevalier King was given a positive ride from a wide draw by Darren Beadman in Class Four, pressured for the lead all the way, then came away under 127 pounds.
It was a sign that Chevalier King was starting to get his act together after problems with overracing up the straight course at Sha Tin, and then an excusable tough run over 1,200m when he tried the Valley for the first time.
While he has yet to learn how to use the speed that he has got, the win proved he has a decent engine and the speed-oriented Valley 1,000m is just what he wants to keep his mind in the right place while he learns.
Going up a grade to Class Three is not going to be the major issue as he plummets in the weights - all the more reason to think he will be hard to run down if he finds the right spot.
But Eddie Lai Wai-ming is replacing Beadman and there is considerable pace drawn to his inside, despite him having a better gate on paper in barrier seven.
Secret Of Winning (Kevin Leung Ka-wai) and At Moment In Time (Howard Cheng Yue-tin) and even Fly High (Alex Lai Hoi-wing) has been racing much further forward and any of them could be up contesting the front early.
It will be up to Lai to be positive early, then make the decision whether it would be wiser to sit behind if the pace is on or whether he should try to run his rivals ragged.
His main opposition looks to come from Rugby Heaven (Douglas Whyte), who has kept improving every run in typical John Size mould, but begins from a much wider draw that would almost certainly see Whyte surrender early.
He will be hoping the leaders get into an early spat and leave him to come over the top of them in the final 100m.
Chevalier King was backed to the exclusion of everything else from 6-1 and he greeted the judge at odds of: 2.7