It has been a threadbare season for Francis Lui Kin-wai, with Leo's Pride last Saturday giving him only his second win since October, but Flying Smart can continue the yard's return to form in the final leg of tomorrow night's Triple Trio.
With Brett Prebble back on board - the Australian is the only jockey to have won on Flying Smart - and a kinder draw for a change, the six-year-old looks ready to win again over the Valley 1,200m.
His latest effort, chasing home another of tomorrow night's rivals Great Spirit (Neil Callan), was an excellent pointer towards his prospects, backing up a better run than it looks behind Cape Canaveral previously when he suffered interference.
His great danger looks Groovy, who has won three out of four starts when ridden by Zac Purton, and the championship leader returns to his back this time, linking up again with Dennis Yip Chor-hong, with whom his strike rate has been outstanding.
Groovy has been back to Class Three for a couple of outings lately but had no luck at all for Gerald Mosse and Tye Angland from wide draws. Purton also has a difficult draw to overcome in gate nine, but his record on the horse makes him dangerous all the same.
Others with at least place claims are lightly raced Winnie's Horse (Mosse), Red Courage, Happy Yeah Yeah and Dance For Gold, while the low draw for My Goal (Ben So Tik-hung) should make him more competitive after having serious excuses in his past three runs since his second to Noble Deluxe.
Purton is going to be a key rider all night and takes another strong chance for Yip in the opening leg with Ho Ho Life, who comes back down to Class Four and returns to Happy Valley for the first time in a while. His best form has always been at this track, he is drawn well and should be a banker material, but his main danger also has a Purton connection.
Mount Victory (Keith Yeung Ming-lun) has been a regular mount for Purton in Class Five, but he had to part ways with the gelding with his ascension to Class Four and drop to the bottom of the handicaps.
Mount Victory paid a price for losing Purton last time when he had a very tough trip in a similar race behind Danzulu (Richard Fourie) after being heavily backed. Overlook his 10th placing there and refer to his prior consistent efforts in the bottom grade. He has a strong claim in this race with a light weight.
Triple Trio players will also need to include Ho Wongchoy (Matt Chadwick), Good Thinker (Dicky Lui Cheuk-yin) and Cool Bean (Prebble). Expectator (Callan) would have looked one of the winning chances from a draw but he still has place claims from the outside barrier.
The middle pin looks the easiest leg for players, with Super Fresh (Andreas Suborics) getting the rails draw and looking a worthwhile banker, though the key for him will still be how much work he has to do mid-race if he doesn't get the front by himself.
He led but spent plenty of petrol to get across from an outside gate last week before holding on well for third to the Caspar Fownes-trained Braveness. Two runs ago he was given no peace in the lead when Fownes-trained Windicator Star got the better of him late in the race. That's all good form and Fownes is three-handed in tomorrow's race, with The Prince (Jacky Tong Chi-kit) looking one of the other prime chances.
So too the Tony Cruz-trained Seasons Star (Chadwick) and Gold Racer (Howard Cheng Yue-tin), also backing up from the Braveness race, and unexplored young horses in Fun 'N' Games (Purton) and the John Size-trained Victorius (Alvin Ng Ka-chun) look to have place claims as well.