Size's Always Something ticks all the right boxes
A freshen up, a drop in trip and at last the inside draw he has been screaming out for should combine to put the John Size-trained Always Something back in the winner's photo for the France Galop Cup (1,000m) at Happy Valley tonight.
The four-year-old son of Black Minnaloushe promised plenty at the start of this season and it isn't as though he hasn't delivered - eight starts for a win, four seconds, two thirds and a fourth is not exactly failing - but he has been frustrated in defeat behind rivals who just happened to have the ball bounce for them rather than for him.
In three of his second placings, Always Something has been beaten in close finishes of a neck or less, then most recently by three-quarters of a length over the Valley 1,650m when his task was made that much more difficult by drawing an outside gate for the fourth start in a row.
Much will be different this time. Always Something (Olivier Doleuze) has drawn barrier three, which was not merely a plus, it was vital if he was going to stay in striking range in what promises to be a scorching pace over the minimum trip.
Wine Win, Holey Dollar, Elite Of Chiu Ton (Weichong Marwing), Blaze king (Brett Prebble), and the Tony Cruz pair of Bullish King and No More Green all have strong speed and it would surprise if the pace isn't very competitive.
While there has been nothing amiss with his efforts at the 1,650m, Always Something has looked a better proposition finishing off over the sprinting distances.
He will undoubtedly be giving a start, but with racing on the bigger 'A' course, he and Doleuze should be overpowering their rivals late as Always Something did winning at his only other run over the Valley 1,000m last season.
Also surging home will be the Caspar Fownes-trained Perfect Style (Mark Du Plessis), but 133 pounds on board is going to dampen his finish, while Always Something has only 119 pounds to carry.
Elite Of Chiu Ton is an interesting runner, despite not having run for almost two years when unbeaten in two goes as a two-year-old.
In his second win, he outpointed Able Speed into third at Ascot and while, Able Speed has not yet been a major success in Hong Kong, he would certainly be competitive in a race like this.
John Size has sent out 381 runners this term and sits top of the trainers' table with a winning strike rate of: 15%