Solid tempo to benefit Kyara
If ever a horse was knocking on the door to win one, it is the John Moore-trained Kyara and he gets his chance in an open St Andrew's Challenge Quaich (1650m) at Happy Valley tonight.
With a wide gate on the 'C' course, Kyara (Darren Beadman) may not get all the favours, but he should get a good tempo to make up for it.
After charging home for second over a sprint course first-up, Kyara looked a good thing beaten over 1,400m behind stablemate Captain Sweet at Sha Tin last time out.
Beginning slowly, Kyara was chased up to the midfield by jockey Jeff Lloyd but that is a move Kyara always resents and his head went up in the air and he proved difficult to handle.
He still got to the line strongly and would have won the race but for getting little clear room in the final 200m - Kyara was climbing all over the back of Sweet Orange, who was beaten only three-quarters of a length and the Moore horse was going to beat him comfortably.
The return to 1,650m, where Kyara has overraced in the past even when he won over the course, is one obstacle to victory tonight, while the wide draw is another, but the race promises a good tempo with Penglai Xianzi, Absolute Hedge, Bould Mover and even Jumbo Gold all possible leaders.
That tempo should help with both problems, with Beadman likely to let Kyara find his feet at the rear and produce him late. The way that Happy Valley has been playing lately, charging down the outside may not be a bad thing at this stage of the night.
His main danger looks Happy Tumbler (Brett Prebble), another finisher who is coming off an excellent first-up second to Outdoor Pegasus at this course and distance and has the luxury of an inside lane.
Punters would do well to respect Fulfil A Wish (Douglas Whyte) in the race, too. He has the tactical speed to sit up reasonably forward without actually wanting the front, and he is better suited back to 1,650m.