Winning three on end in the tight handicapping environment in Hong Kong is never easy, but form horse Ho Ho Life ticks all the boxes to do just that in the Indian Recreation Club Challenge Cup (1,800m) tonight at Happy Valley.
It took the Dennis Yip Chor-hong-trained five-year-old until this term to strike his best form, and Ho Ho Life (Douglas Whyte) has been solid winning in Class Four over 1,650m and then over this track and distance in Class Three last time out.
While Ho Ho Life rises four pounds in the weights, he shapes to get a similar sort of trip from barrier four and looks the clear first choice to improve on what is already a handy Happy Valley record of 19 starts for five wins and five placings.
The speed in the race looks to come from Shiny Day in the outside barrier, Handsome Batchelor in barrier eight and Interchina Star in gate six.
One of the main dangers, Hollywood Kiss (Zac Purton) has also led at times in the past, but is well drawn in two at his first run for Derek Cruz and it wouldn't surprise to see Purton prefer the box-seat over pursuit of the front, judging by a barrier trial 12 days ago.
All of which leaves Whyte camped just behind the speed in fifth or sixth, just as he was when he beat Vigor Delight (Gerald Mosse) last time.
That was a big improvement from Vigor Delight, who closed off better than any other runner. He hasn't been a reliable beginner but, if Mosse can tuck him away in midfield, the seven-year-old looks a chance for his first win since March 2010.
Hollywood Kiss has to be respected from the draw, as he worked too hard in two recent runs for Peter Ho Leung in Class Three. In the hood he sports in the race for the first time, he trialled well against higher-rated runners Beauty Lead and Sapelli.
Punters also should look for improvement from Banksters Bonus (Brett Prebble) down in grade. He ran two handy races at the Valley in Class Two in January.Topics: Douglas Whyte Alan Aitken Purton Happy Valley Alan Aitken