Excellent Win is still a maiden after nine starts and has plummeted deep into the mire of Class Five, but showed in a Happy Valley barrier trial on Saturday a win might be just around the corner.
Jumping from gate one for Ben So Tik-hung, the 31-rated four-year-old led his 1,200m heat almost by default, then handed up to the hard-going three-year-old Regal Army.
Excellent Win showed surprising competitiveness to re-gather and find the front and hang on.
A couple of cautionary notes though. He has won at the trials before and his time this time (1.14.9) wasn't flash.
The Peter Ng Bik-kuen-trained galloper, an International Sales graduate, has raced exclusively as a griffin and in Class Four previously and has never started at less than 100-1. A dramatic off-season points readjustment could see him find his mark in Class Five.
Caspar Fownes' preparation for Ride On The Fire for tonight's 1,200m Class Four at Happy Valley has been unorthodox, to say the least.
Fownes sent the four-year-old around in a 1,700m trial, with Vincent Chak-yiu directed to lead. He set out at a solid pace and was only overhauled by Mr Marfach and dirt-track specialist Baitiwu - who showed he might have something to offer at the Valley.
Ride On The Fire has had two runs this prep, a third on the dirt over 1,200m before a sixth when his condition gave out over 1,000m at Happy Valley on September 28.
He started 2.6 favourite last start and will come in for more support after drawing gate one.