Tough Mr Bond can steal the bonus
After six months of competition, the 1010 Happy Valley Million Challenge will come down to its usual nail-biting finish at the city course tonight, with horses who are not in contention standing in the way of the front-runners and Mr Bond looking a great chance to steal the main prize.
Despite the length of the Million Challenge contest, open to horses with performances in Class Three or higher at the Valley from September to tonight's February finale, it has been decided in most seasons on the last night.
The yellow saddlecloth holder is Super Plus on 60 after his win last week, and another win in race seven settles it all, but he has a wide gate and a tough race, which could open the door for Mr Bond, Flying Colours, Hawthorne and Happy Yeah Yeah. All could claim the HK$650,000 first prize outright with a win, while Regency Winner (45 points) can only share the title by winning the sixth.
Mr Bond (race five) has been one of the season's real finds, scoring three times at the Valley and unlucky on more than one occasion, too, including his tough wide run last start as favourite.
He rises to Class One for the first time, but will relish the weight drop to 122 pounds, if Gerald Mosse can give him a kind trip from another awkward draw in barrier eight.
The main obstacle between him and victory is Longwah Supreme, who could spoil Mr Bond's party but isn't even in the picture for the Challenge.
But it won't be over even if Mr Bond does win, as trainer Peter Ho Leung and connections will still have to await the result of the seventh race and see if Super Plus can score the maximum 15 points.
And there is a chance it could go all the way to the last leg, with Flying Colours able to reach 64 points with a win. He looks one of the top chances, but has to get over the top of John Moore's tidy sprinter, Time After Time, who has terrific form around Glorious Days and looks the horse to beat.