Happy Index can strike back on dirt

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 March, 2012, 12:00am


Twice a season, racing fans are forced to endure these all-weather cards and the surface becomes an added variable since, every now and then, the night meetings feature a track where getting away from the rail is preferred, or at least not the poison it frequently can be.

The most recent, on October 19, was just such a track, so the early races may give a guide, but on-pace and closer to the rail is rarely a negative on the dirt and that's where Happy Index (Matthew Chadwick) will be.

The three-year-old is unbeaten on the dirt and looked open to improvement, despite winning his only two starts at this 1,200m course in January-February.

Cruz took him to the turf last time and Happy Index showed he is no slouch there either, with a brave second to Moneymaker after being worked in the lead all the way. But his sire, Elusive Quality, has been responsible for Hong Kong's two best dirt sprinters in recent years, Lucky Quality and Dynamic Blitz, and the return to the artificial surface looks a positive.

From gate five, Happy Index will push forward and looks naturally quicker than most of those underneath him. He should find the rail to guide him, as he has in his two previous wins, or find himself sitting outside the lead if Warrior's brother, the speedy Genki Moochi, is hunted through to lead from gate one.

Costa Del Sol (Zac Purton) was a smart last-start winner over the same course, but moves from gate six to 11 and will have real prospects if horses can run on.

Look for improvement from Quantum Power (Gerald Mosse) from a slightly better draw. After an explosive win from barrier four two runs back, the Richard Gibson-trained gelding drew 10 last time and was forced to spend more effort getting position and didn't finish his race off. He could land in a better trailing spot this time, allowing him to hit the line again.