Able Speed looks the part
In many ways, Able Speed has been a disappointment since his arrival more than two years ago but the five-year-old has shown lately that it's never too late for redemption and he can continue some solid form by winning the Hong Kong Reunification Cup (1,200m) today.
Able Speed (Olivier Doleuze) arrived with two-year-old Group Two form from the United Kingdom, and is just the kind of horse trainer John Moore has regularly turned into a top-grade performer in past seasons.
First it was a wind problem and throat surgery, then it was a heart irregularity and things simply didn't settle down for Able Speed and we didn't see the best of him.
There were glimpses of serious ability - often when fresh and when ridden quietly - but the gelding simply couldn't get it together on a regular basis and he spent the first two years as a Hong Kong maiden.
While a mile is probably a questionable distance for Able Speed, perhaps Moore pulled the right rein in trying it during the current season, as it seemed to iron Able Speed out mentally for when he dropped back to the sprints.
That was when Damien Oliver jumped aboard and was instructed to use standover tactics on May 1 when Able Speed broke through to win. Another solid run at Happy Valley behind Good Words followed before he returned to win again at Sha Tin last time for Doleuze.
What seems apparent is Able Speed wants a strong rider, a good tempo and 1,200m and he should have all three in what is nevertheless a relatively open event.
Leading City (Jeff Lloyd), Good Words (Matthew Chadwick) and Blaze King will be forward early to ensure tempo, but Doleuze should have them in his sights from gate three. For a danger, Rich Unicorn (Douglas Whyte) is another who will appreciate a true tempo and a draw, and has done little wrong in his 10 starts. A touch overmatched at Group Three level last time when third, he comes back to a Class One.
California Choice is a huge question mark. If he brings his straight form to the circle, he is right in this, though a bad draw for a horse who is frequently a poor beginner is not going to help.