Lots of excitement was provided from the dozen newcomers at Sha Tin and one that stood up was the Manfred Man Ka-leung-trained Pleasure Gains in the Class Four Hillwood Handicap (1,400m).
He faded back at the break and about 15 lengths off the joint leaders Xi Ying Men and Good Luck Win after 100m, was still detached from the field and showed no interest coming to the final bend.
But after a few cracks from Alvin Ng Ka-chun, the gelding started to focus before unleashing a powerful turn of foot under hands-and-heels riding at the 150m to finish fourth to Hong Kong Dancer.
Pleasure Gains had a solid grounding since being purchased at the December's sale for HK$2.2 million by Michael Kao Cheung-chong. He showed big improvement in his final two trials for Douglas Whyte, who was on the third-placed King Haradasun.
Tipping the scales at 1,200 pounds, the four-year-old is a burly gelding by the ageing but proven Green Desert stallion Cape Cross and Vettori mare Viola Da Braccio.
Cape Cross was an exceptional European miler, winning three pattern events including the Group One Newbury Lockinge Stakes, and been the sire of European Horse of the Year Sea The Stars and Ouija Board, has produced 28 winners in Hong Kong.
His dam was a route placed in France at 2,500m from five starts and has foaled three other starters, but what stands out on the female side of his pedigree is super star European miler Rock Of Gibraltar, who is by Offshore Boom.
Pleasure Gains still looks a big baby and, like most Cape Cross progeny, should get better with time and handle staying trips.