Five Clubs can get on with his job
Lightly raced five-year-old Five Clubs has had his issues but seems to have found a niche over the dirt sprint trip and that stands him in good stead in tonight's Tsuen Wan New Town Golden Jubilee Cup (1,200m) at Sha Tin.
Five Clubs (Derek Leung Ka-chun) looked to be at the crossroads in January after bleeding in a race down the straight turf course, when still a local maiden galloper.
When he returned from his compulsory break, however, trainer Manfred Man Ka-leung sent him back to the all-weather in June, a course where he had run well enough in two previous attempts. It was a winning move, with Five Clubs overhauling another of his rivals, Fortune General (Jeff Lloyd), to take the spoils.
Spelled for the summer, Five Clubs returned from a three-month break with a powerful finish behind a strong lead tempo on September 18 to win again over the dirt 1,200m.
If there is a query about him it is that both of those wins have been when coming off significant breaks and Five Clubs needs to repeat his fresh form after only a month, but he looks likely to get everything else he wants - a good draw and a likely good pace.
Smart Choice (Brett Doyle) tends to lack consistency even on his preferred all-weather surface, but is another well suited if he puts his best foot forward and turns up in the same form we saw when he scored first-up in Class Four on the same Five Clubs won the Class Three.
The John Size-trained Fortune General may have scored his only win on the turf course at Sha Tin but is a son of Johannesburg, whose progeny tend to be best on soft ground or artificial surfaces.
His best performances have been on this surface, and it is only a lack of recent racing that prevents him being the top pick for the cup.
He has had two barrier trials, is drawn ideally and gets into the race with a nice weight turnaround on Five Clubs for that meeting earlier this year.