Groovy may be green, but Valley brings out best in him
The brief career of the Dennis Yip Chor-hong-trained Groovy to date has shown that he still has plenty to learn about the business, but that looks a factor in his favour as the horse to beat in the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union Cup (1,200m) at Happy Valley tonight.
Groovy (Brett Prebble) carries a reputation that is probably bigger than his record at this stage, but that has been due to his greenness and not for lack of natural talent.
A nice debut winner in Australia at his only run, Groovy hasn't helped himself since arriving by getting keen in races and proving a difficult ride.
Yip made a smart move going to Happy Valley last time, though, as the smaller, turning circuit often helps inexperienced horses who find too much to look at and think about in the open spaces at Sha Tin.
Prebble jumped aboard when Groovy made his first trip to the Valley and the pair notched up a win over this course and distance, with indications of more improvement to come.
He may have been a touch lucky to beat Windicator Power that night, but there was still plenty to like about Groovy's victory as he again overraced in the first half of the race. He put his head down and travelled better when the leaders picked up at the 500m before closing off the race well under Prebble's standover tactics, but still gave the impression it was all a bit new to him.
Both the runner-up Windicator Power and third-placed Free And Easy (Keith Yeung Ming-lun), a rival again, have come out and won their next race which has also been encouraging for that form.
Key for Groovy looks to be a decent speed in this race, with a number of regular forward runners, and that will help him keep his mind on the job at hand as he tracks up just behind them in the run.
His danger appears a horse that Prebble also rode last time out when he was fifth to Free And Easy, Master Rio (Darren Beadman).
Drawn out on that occasion, Master Rio was taken back from a wide gate to avoid wide running but found the line strongly. He has a more suitable inside draw this time, as he had in winning in Class Four two runs ago.
Dennis Yip's last-start winners at the Valley perform well when backing up at the same course, boasting a winning strike rate of: 13%