Joyful Winner II ready to salute in Police Cup
Joyful Winner II might not make the heights reached by his former namesake, but the John Moore-trained four-year-old can make a local breakthrough in tonight's Police Cup (1,650m) at Happy Valley.
The first Joyful Winner was a star for the same ownership under Moore's guidance, including two Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup wins, but the current one has a long way to go to anything like that level of form.
Fortunately, he faces just an average Class Three field and put the writing on the wall when he failed to overhaul Upgrading at the same track last time.
After an even 1,200m run first-up at Sha Tin, Joyful Winner II (Darren Beadman) was a fitter and better-suited combatant stepping up to the extended Valley mile.
He rattled home from midfield to go down by a half length and it is reasonable to expect him to have advanced again for that outing and to be peaking for this race.
Joyful Winner II had worthwhile if not outstanding form from eight starts in England as a two- and three-year-old, looking to improve with maturity last year and winning over 1,600m at Newmarket.
He shapes like a horse still with a little upside to him as he matures fully and he won't have to progress much on his last-start effort for Moore to be holding the cup.
The presence of Great Guy, New Glory, Kenobe and Strawberry should see a decent tempo and that will help Beadman in offsetting an otherwise awkward draw in gate 10. Also in his favour is the move to the widest 'A' course, certainly a theoretical positive for a horse likely to be running on at the finish.
His clear danger looks to be Happy Guy (Alex Lai Hoi-wing), who carries blinkers for the first time and comes to Happy Valley for the first time after some solid runs lately at Sha Tin.
Placings behind the likes of Flying Blue and Ambitious Dragon stand out in his form and he will have a tactical advantage over Joyful Winner II.
He has a better draw in gate three and, especially in the blinkers, can be expected to have a more forward position than his rival in the run.
Making a splash
Joyful Winner II has had eight starts in England, with his only win over the 1,600m coming at odds of: 25-1