Flying Blue can prove to be gold
John Size has the numbers and he might just have the right style of horse to win the Group Two Sha Tin Trophy (1,600m) today and Flying Blue could spring a form reversal to upset the favourites.
If there were no doubts about the speed of the race being similar to the speed we saw in the National Day Cup over 1,400m, then the John Moore-trained Xtension (Darren Beadman) would make for an obvious choice in the race.
But he has an awkward draw that might see him getting back in the field, while Size saddles up four runners who can all take a position handy to the leaders.
That looks a crucial element to the race, as Beauty Flash looks the regulation leader ahead of Able One, but there is no guarantee of a serious speed unless something unforeseen takes place.
Even Able One, who has been a leader at different stages of his career, has been more often seen parked on the heels of the leader in more recent times rather than forcing the issue at the front end.
While the National Day Cup, in which many of these runners met on October 1, was run at a searing speed, today's feature promises to be a different style of race and one that might offer more assistance to horses racing close to the lead.
Enter John Size - with Flying Blue (Olivier Doleuze), Sichuan Success (Douglas Whyte), Sight Winner (Tye Angland) and even Brave Kid (Greg Cheyne) all horses who can take some sort of position early.
There looks little between Flying Blue and Sichuan Success as his main chances, and Flying Blue likely to be the better value for punters with Whyte choosing Sichuan Success.
Both map to get ideal runs, Sichuan Success in the box seat on the back of Beauty Flash and Flying Blue two wide tracking up just behind the speed. Punters will look at the form guide and see Flying Blue has a last of 14 next to his name in the National Day Cup, but the five-year-old might as well have stayed home that day. Checked in the early stages, he lost his galloping action to the extent Zac Purton told stewards he thought the horse had broken down at the 1,300m, but then he persisted in the race when Flying Blue recovered his rhythm. He was again concerned at the horse's action from the top of the straight, this time easing him down.
Flying Blue pulled up with abrasions to his right hind leg, but he has trialled well since and his record was outstanding prior to that run, with four wins and three seconds from his first seven runs, including a two from two record at 1,600m.
With the ideal run almost guaranteed, Sichuan Success looks a strong danger - he was caught wide throughout the National Day Cup and did well to finish sixth, only half-a-length behind Xtension, who had no such issues to hamper his performance but did hand in a decent performance himself in running home for fifth to Ambitious Dragon.
As ever, Beauty Flash (Gerald Mosse) demands respect. He did a ton of work in the National Day Cup, going forward in the hot pace and boxing on strongly, and should get things more his way this time.
Nevertheless, once again he has the task of giving weight away to almost all his rivals under the handicap conditions and will be there to be shot down in the straight.
The number of runners John Size saddles up for the Sha Tin Trophy