Flying Colours has tactical edge
Flying Colours doesn't get to the races as often as Derek Cruz would probably like, but the five-year-old looks the knockout chance at his first all-weather attempt in the Yan Chai Trophy (1,200m) today at Sha Tin.
Punters will doubtless pin their hopes to the 'King Of The Dirt', Olivier Doleuze, on the impressive first-up winner Smart Choice.
And if Smart Choice gets the right circumstances, the Andy Leung Ting-wah-trained gelding would be the horse to beat again, but how a race breaks is even more vital on the all-weather than it is on the turf - that is the question mark with the favourite.
In his seasonal debut in Class Four, Smart Choice drew awkwardly over the same trip but got cover three wide and a solid tempo, which allowed him to work into the race around the home turn and overwhelm his opposition.
This time the tempo looks a different game with few recognised leaders other than Perfect Fit and Doleuze will again be faced with a tricky gate.
Flying Colours (Jeff Lloyd), on the other hand, has the early speed to camp close to the lead and that looks a distinct tactical advantage if Perfect Fit isn't forced to go too quickly.
A griffin winner as a two-year-old, Flying Colours remains lightly raced more than two years later, with injuries having cut back his race-day appearances, but he has still assembled a nice record of three wins from nine starts.
His most recent outing in January was his first since last October and now he returns after another lengthy break, but his fresh record is almost impeccable. In four attempts, Flying Colours has won twice first-up, finished a close second in another, and his only unplaced run was a close fourth when resuming from a break of almost a year. He hasn't trialled, like most of Cruz's runners this season, they have been produced ready to run, with three winners and three placings from 13 starters.
The query on tempo will not help Flying China (Ben So Tik-hung), but he is consistent on the surface, while Five Clubs (Alex Lai Hoi-wing) is another potential knockout.
He has had two dirt trials and gone nicely, but it is a concern that he is still overracing as he did in his latest race start in July.
Flying Colours hasn't raced a lot due to injuries, but has managed three wins from (starts): 9