Highly promising four-year-old Beauty Flash blotted his copybook for punters last time out, but the Tony Cruz-trained gelding again looks the one to beat in the Chevalier Cup (1,400m) at Sha Tin today.
Unbeaten in three prior starts, Beauty Flash (Matthew Chadwick) had looked a coming star in winning two starts last season, with a race like the Derby well and truly in his sights in a few months' time.
On his return to racing, Beauty Flash was not at his top but was still strong enough to beat Iron Fist at 1,400m.
Iron Fist subsequently won a quality event at his next run to frank the form, and third-placed White Jade was also a good class winner at his next start.
Cruz has fine-tuned the gelding since with an all-weather trial two weeks ago and Beauty Flash should be fit and well to restore any dents to his reputation.
If there is a query on Beauty Flash it is on whether he is wanting further than 1,400m to show his very best but, on the positive side, this should be a good test of stamina with the likes of Romping, Dream Team, Our Lucky Baby, Terrific Brethren and Skyview Bar engaged.
Beauty Flash has looked impressive chasing a good speed and, allowed to find his feet behind the pace today, expect him to be finding the post strongly in the final stages with his weight pull on many of the fancied runners.
As a danger, the lightly weighted Vital Flyer (Derek Leung Ka-chun) has claims, despite his wide gate. During his career in Australia, he won at 1,400m, though he was more a speed-oriented horse as a three-year-old.
Michael Chang Chun-wai has him finding the line in good style since his arrival and he has not put a foot wrong in three runs, despite not winning.
He has found Sunny Golf in top form in his past two runs on the dirt, but there has been nothing amiss with how he found the line in those 1,200m events, especially the most recent when Sunny Golf had a picnic in the lead and the style of the race made it tough to get past him.
It is a test for him at 1,400m in a true tempo but, with 112 pounds today, he should have the luxury of sitting behind the fliers and letting the handicaps do their work.
Beauty Flash has won three times and earned prize money of almost: HK$2m