Dapper Boy was his own worst enemy last term, but returns as a seemingly more composed individual and should be able to settle in behind a suitably fast speed at Sha Tin on Monday after showing some encouraging signs of relaxing in a barrier trial.
The David Hall-trained four-year-old can act as a banker in the final leg of the Triple Trio at the National Day meeting, a low draw adding confidence to his claims.
In his first season of racing, Dapper Boy was well-supported in his three starts, but needed the experience as his tendency to overrace brought him undone.
A 1,050m trial, where Weichong Marwing restrained the solid sprinter out of the gates, wasn't perfect, but it did seem an improvement on the hefty gelding's previous intractably green efforts. Best of all, Dapper Boy charged home without any urging.
A hot tempo should help Marwing settle Dapper Boy from gate five. Bear Elite, who is first up and with aggressive Matthew Chadwick aboard, should find the front, and Vincent Ho Chak-yiu should reprise his last-start tactics on The Prince from a wide barrier. Throw the two claiming apprentices into the mix - Alvin Ng Ka-chun on Solar Up and Dicky Lui Chek-yeung kicking up from gate one on Ming Hoi Glory - and Dapper Boy won't have any chance to overrace.
Next in is Holyangelholy (Tye Angland) - with blinkers on and dropping back to 1,200m after an infuriating display as favourite last time out.
Holyangelholy was a devilish ride for Douglas Whyte, showing surprisingly erratic racing manners and perhaps as a result, was flat-footed and one-paced when they dashed. He, too, will be helped by solid sectionals and the ever-thoughtful Size isn't frivolous about his gear changes, nor anything he does with a horse, so it's fair to expect improvement with the move to shades.
In a race that drops away sharply, Bear Elite should be forward and will run a race, while Nightlign (Zac Purton) should improve off his first-up run.
The first leg is up the straight and at first glance the obvious banker seems to be Castle Hero (Ho) after a solid first-up run behind Dane Patrol last weekend, but persistent lameness issues for a horse on a seven-day back-up leave some doubts.
Drawing one could also leave him facing the breeze as he was last start and doing all the work in the run.
Oriental Prosper, a first-up winner last season and with Ng's claim bringing him down to a similar weight, gets the cover of the grandstand rail and is an option as a banker.
Instead of standing one out, maybe play narrow with four, including Castle Hero, Oriental Prosper, Bould Mover (Chadwick) and Flying Smart (Brett Prebble), whose first-up fifth was better than it looks on paper. An outsider to consider is one from the trials - Keen Tactics (Eddie Lai Wai-ming).
The middle leg looks like Lui's best chance of breaking through for his first win on Cosmo One - but drawn inside him are two other on-pace runners that won't make it easy for him to get the rail or a two-wide spot.
Include Cosmo One, who is well-treated with the 10-pound allowance, but go for Purton on Meridian Treasure as a banker.
Drawn six, Purton has the one-dimensional Ferrabosco outside him and can disrupt the big grey's rhythm and then find a perfect spot just behind the speed. Kensworth Kid (Olivier Doleuze) peaked on his run last start after being asked to sprint early.
He will be better for that run and will appreciate any pace.
Others to consider are Breeze Of Luck (Marwing) and Kingston Spartacus (Lai), with Global Fame (Richard Fourie) a place chance despite his wide draw.
(3) Blessing Win, (8) Lotus Love, (11) Polygold.
(1) Garlic Boy, (3) Young Talent, (5) Riyadh, (12) Alp’s Glory.
(1) Captain Sweet, (2) Rich Unicorn, (5) Blaze King, (7) Vital Flyer.
(1) Flying Smart, (2) Bould Mover, (6) Keen Tactics, (8) Rising Power.
(2) Kingston Spartacus, (3) Towering Storm, (4) Breeze Of Luck, (11) Shining Treasures.
(1) Holyangelholy, (3) Dapper Boy, (6) Bear Elite, (7) Treasure Man.
(1) Admiration, (2) Flying Blue, (6) Packing Ok, (10) Helene Spirit.
(2) Smell Money, (5) Holy Mac, (6) Real Generous, (8) Hear The Roar.
(1) Strathtay, (6) Magnumous, (9) Green Eagle, (11) Slick Bullet.
(3) Chater Way, (5) Fulfil A Wish, (8) Same World, (9) Beauty Lead.