Jun Gong looks to have returned as a better horse following another eye-catching performance at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
The Dennis Yip Chor-hong-trained four-year-old showed he had ability last campaign in runs behind Legendary Dragon (1,200m), Real Specialist (1,400m) and Silver Grecian (1,400m), but his gate antics have cost him each time.
With Yip putting more effort into Jun Gong, the gelding has been more focused, judging by the way he has been jumping with the field.
In his first reappearance, Jun Gong unleashed a nice turn of foot to finish fourth to Amber Sky down the Sha Tin straight 19 days back. And his latest effort in the extended-band Class Three Lomond Handicap (1,200m) indicated he is now ready to break through.
He was allowed to find his stride at the rear and one off the fence about eight lengths off leader Dr Super, was off the bridle to improve at the 600m, tended to hang his head while switching into the clear widest out and finished powerfully to come up a ½-length fourth to winner Imperial Rome.
Jun Gong had shown ability in four wet-track outings with blinkers under the guidance of Mick Price in Australia. Racing as Saint Etienne, he opened his career as a three-year-old for a runner-up effort over 1,200m, before winning over 1,400m and ending his career there with two mile appearances when a half-length third to Galah in the Group Three Carbine Club Stakes and a fifth.
The gelding is son of Spinning World, a top-flight miler with eight wins (including three Group One successes) and is no stranger to the Hong Kong scene.
His mother, unplaced King Of Kings mare Toby Bess is a half-sister to Manhattan Von, a winner of 10 races to 1,400m, and to the dam of the smart local performer Flying Blue.
His third dam, Brown Satin, was a winner of eight up to 2,100m, and it appears Jun Gong has a good mix of stamina and speed.