At Moment In Time ready to turn tables
The feast of Class One racing at Happy Valley continues tonight with the Lai Chi Chong Handicap (1,000m), and smart sprinter At Moment In Time gets his chance for revenge.
The Danny Shum Chap-shing-trained gelding's only two victories have been over the minimum trip at the Valley, the most recent first-up for the term in September. At that stage, At Moment In Time (Howard Cheng Yue-tin) looked set for a great season, but illness and injury changed that, with a tendon issue in October and then an infected hoof in February sidelining him for months.
When At Moment In Time resumed in April, he had seven months without a race but still ran a sound third to straight-course star California Choice. He had excuses at the Valley over 1,200m after that, but he had even more sad stories at his last outing when he finished sixth to Blaze King (Jeff Lloyd) over the straight 1,000m at Sha Tin.
With Blaze King the likely favourite for this event, that run gives a strong pointer to At Moment In Time's prospects of turning around their 31/4-length margin.
Cheng had At Moment In Time perfectly positioned, poised behind the two leaders near the outside rail, but he was brought unstuck by Lloyd's decision not to look for the lead on Blaze King.
With Blaze King to his right, the rail on his left and the leaders ahead, Cheng found himself with nowhere to go when the serious work began. While Lloyd was able to dash Blaze King away uninterrupted, the leaders fell back in the face of At Moment In Time, who was proving difficult to manoeuvre around them, and the race simply went without him.
Blaze King was a smart winner on that occasion, his first run for the Tony Cruz yard and he may have found improvement with the move of stables. But At Moment In Time should have finished second, will meet the winner on much better weights terms and is drawn ideally in five.
At Moment In Time aside, Cruz holds all the aces, with course-and-distance specialist El Zonda (Matthew Chadwick) and Bould Mover (Derek Leung Ka-chun) looking two of the other major chances.