The conditions on Wednesday night at Happy Valley were remarkable as only the fourth time this century a meeting during December had opened up with a good to yielding track, things got worse after that in the heavy rain and it made the form questionable all round going forward.
However one thing for certain is that Tony Cruz-trained Happy Spirit stamped himself as a horse on the way up with his brave win in the fourth event.
Cruz ordered jockey Silvestre De Sousa to lead and the British champion did as requested, pushing the Holy Roman Emperor four-year-old to hold the front and it was no mean speed that he set.
Horses were failing in the wet going, so it might not have been conclusively the tempo, but any horse which raced anywhere near the lead in the race was well beaten before straightening for home, except Happy Spirit, who kept on going to win.
Ridden back, honest gelding Go-Getter ran him close and the third and fourth spots were also taken by horses finishing on, so every indication is that this was a strong performance from Happy Spirit.
With only two runs behind him, it is hard to think he won’t improve more, he will definitely stay longer and win more races and the fact he’s by Holy Roman Emperor is only a positive, considering the record he has here.
David Hall is turning around the fortunes of a number of stable transfers lately and dead-heat winner Happy And Healthy was one on Wednesday, having his second run for the yard, while Step Faster’s second appearance for the stable in race two looked a nice improvement.
Step Faster had run moderately on the dirt at his first run for Hall but this was much better getting back to Happy Valley, where his two wins have come, and he worked into the race like the winner at the 300m.
He had to settle for third, beaten a length, but the seven-year-old has dropped a long way from his peak ratings in Class Three to the middle of Class Four and he can be placed to win now.