It took nearly one year, 20 runs and a drop of 32 ratings points for Romantic City to become competitive again, but now that the bold front-runner has reclaimed some semblance of his best form, the six-year-old can make it back-to-back wins in the anchor leg of tomorrow night's Triple Trio at Happy Valley.
With the TT estimated to reach HK$7 million and, with the rail in the tight "C+3" configuration, Romantic City can run his rivals ragged from barrier four, with the Gary Ng Tik-keung-trained speed machine standing out as a banker in a Class Three over his pet distance of 1,000m.
Romantic City's rating peaked at 102 late in the 2010-11 season - it only took the Private Purchase Griffin nine runs to hit triple figures and he won four of his first eight starts for former handler Ricky Yiu Poon-fai. But after the gelding was unplaced in his first eight runs last term, clearly struggling with soundness issues, he was transferred to Ng and that's when the radical reassessment of his handicap really took hold. He dropped 20 points to find himself on his last-start mark of 70.
An easy win has him bouncing back up to 79, but from barrier four and feeling good, he should hit the frame again.
There are two other clear picks that have to be included - Tony Cruz's unbeaten three-year-old Seasons Star (Douglas Whyte), who rounded up his rivals effortlessly over the course and distance last start and has obvious upside, but has gate nine.
Drawn three and dropping back to what seems a more suitable trip is Peter Ng Bik-kuen's Gold Racer (Howard Cheng Yue-tin). He has had his excuses last two times out and will win his way out of this grade soon enough.
Other options are Ever Beauty (Umberto Rispoli) and Lucky Turbo (Alex Lai Hoi-wing) with both drawn to advantage over their favoured trip.
The opening leg is a Class Four over 1,200m and bank on Tye Angland making the most of barrier one on Danny Shum Chap-shing's Happy Ceramibo, who was stuck wide without cover after being pushed forward in an attempt to lead last time out.
Angland can hopefully take a sit and find the perfect spot when the rail is out as host of on-pace runners create a hot tempo.
Hiyuen Paladin (Alvin Ng Ka-chun) is rapidly approaching a mark that should slow him up, but his form, combined with his positive on-pace style is too good a combination to leave him out.
Bullish Boy (Matthew Chadwick) is on debut, but trialled well on the track and gets a chance, along with Always Well (Vincent Ho Chak-yiu) and Ocean Wide (Tim Clark).
Barrier 12 is usually poison over the 1,200m track, especially with the rail at its widest, but Andy Leung Ting-wah's Make It (Derek Leung Ka-chun) gets some consideration because of the expected speed up front and some solid run-on efforts so far this term.
The middle pin is a Class Three over 1,800m - a distance that always seems to produce open races - and this is no different.
Endowing (Whyte) is the likely betting elect and can go in as a banker, but how many you throw in with him depends on how deep your pockets are.
Fortune Winner (Jackie Tong Chi-kit), Hear The Roar (Weichong Marwing), Enthusing (Brett Prebble) and Victory Mascot (Ho) all have some claims.
Read Michael Cox's blog - 'Lucky Last Lui' keeping his head above water. Go to: http://www.scmp.com/author/michael-cox-0