The Derek Cruz-trained Heco Rider is coming to hand with racing, dashing home to finish fourth in the Class Four Kam Shan Handicap (1,200m) at Happy Valley on Wednesday night and won't be far off a victory when stepping up over a further distance.
Heco Rider produced an unacceptable performance in his April debut over 1,400m at Sha Tin following a swollen hock issue, but came right following two trials and a switch to this course and distance for Tye Angland when a battling fourth to Novel Start on a good-to-yielding ground in June, before quickening nicely on a good-to-form surface to nail Benefactor in July.
He was trapped three wide throughout at the back following a slow break when resuming behind Ocean Wide over this course last month, but found the line nicely this time on the back of a barrier trial win with Brett Prebble over 800m on the Sha Tin turf 15 days earlier.
The four-year-old made his run third from the rear and along the inside after making heavy contact with Bet On Me shortly after breaking from gate seven, was given reminders to stay on his game, straightened three deep before responding strongly to finish up a distant 23/4-length fourth behind exciting newcomer Happy Era, clocking just under 23 seconds for the final 400m.
The gelding appears from this run and his pedigree to be crying out for further. He's a son of Keeper and Centaine mare Savannah Swift. While Keeper was a Group One winner of the SAJC Goodwood Handicap over 1,200m, he was successful up to a mile and has fathered 27 winners from 38 starters in Hong Kong, the likes of Group winner Special Days, Happy Guys and Bouncer.
Savannah Swift was successful up to 2,000m and is a daughter of Sea Swift, who was a winner up to 3,200m, including the Group One Auckland Cup.