Beauty Flash can make HK proud at Yasuda Kinen
Alan Aitken in Tokyo
The Tony Cruz-trained Beauty Flash has all the attributes necessary to land a third Hong Kong win in the Group One Yasuda Kinen (1,600m) today.
The four-year-old has surprised his trainer with just how well he has taken to the travelling caper, and Beauty Flash (Felix Coetzee) looks in super order going to this test.
In his corner, he has a few things that will help him to land the final leg of the Asian Mile Challenge - a very good and experienced combination of trainer and jockey, a style that will keep him out of trouble and the benefit of not meeting any home town champions.
Perhaps a Japanese runner like Reach The Crown will emerge from this race as a new star, but the weight of opinion in Tokyo is that there is no Daiwa Major, no Vodka, no Admire Moon - the last four winners of this race.
Reach The Crown has some potential to build on, but he is not being spoken of as a true world beater, and that may just leave the door open wide enough for one of the Hong Kong runners in what is an open contest.
Provided Coetzee bounces him out and puts him on the speed, Beauty Flash ticks all the boxes as a major winning chance, where tactical ability is going to count for something.
Meine Falke, an habitual front-runner, is the most likely leader but he is not a horse who runs along quickly, so an even and comfortable pace looks the order of the day rather than the quick early section that have featured in the pats couple of years.
That should have Beauty Flash camped on the leader to the home turn and ready to give a strong kick as the field comes up the rising ground in the straight.
Coetzee knows only too well the dangers of being left in front too early at Fuchu, which is what happened to Silent Witness several years ago, but Meine Falke is regarded as possible winner of this race so he should have enough petrol to take Beauty Flash right into the last 150m.
Fellowship has never done much wrong and it would surprise if he is not in the finish, but his questionable stamina at the end of 1,600m at a flat track like Sha Tin might see him found out up the rising ground at Fuchu in the final stages.
Tony Cruz has won the Yasuda Kinen once before, with Bullish Luck in: 2006