Caspar Fownes (pictured) couldn't land a winner, despite sending six well-punted runners to the starting gates on Wednesday night, but Grand Elite looks a winner in the wings following another good performance in the Geranium Handicap over (1,650m).
Jumping a prohibitive favourite at $29 in his first crack at the Happy Valley circuit under the handling of Zac Purton, Grand Elite was posted three deep after breaking from gate eight, brushed with Top Dragon at the 1,600m, before slotting in with cover, peeled three wide and pushed into the clear with two wider out upon straightening, dashed to a share of the lead at the 120m and kept on well to only find Diligent III too good.
The three-year-old stepped out five times at Sha Tin and only came into hand in the last two runs following a nice trial win up the straight course.
The gelding has the pedigree to race his way in the standings. He is a son of the popular and distinguished O'Reilly, a Bayer Classic and Telegraph Handicap winner among his four successes from 1,000m to 1,600m and the sire of 56 winners from 78 starters in Hong Kong, including the retired Fellowship.
His dam, Citidancer mare Lady Chanele was a double winner in New Zealand and twice fourth in Listed company and half-sister to Group winning stayers Aquidity (17 wins from 1,400m to 2,400m) and The Sportsman (10 wins from 1,400m to 2,500m, including the Group Two Moonee Valley Gold Cup).
Grand Elite is a brother to Ombre Rose, a seven-time winner of four Listed races from 1,200m to 2,000m and multiple Group places, and half-brother to four other winners, including the locally performed Golden Treasure, a Faltaat son who has been successful five times on the all-weather track.
Expect Grand Elite to be opening his account over 1,400m at Sha Tin or mile at Happy Valley with the pedigree to possibly get up to 2,000m with more time and experience.