Celestial Smile has a proud record of consistency as he has made his way through the grades and he is poised to break into Group Three company with the handicaps in his favour in the Centenary Vase (1,800m) at Sha Tin today.
Trainer Paul O'Sullivan muses aloud every time Celestial Smile (Silvestre de Sousa) runs that it is rare to see a record in Hong Kong like the one Celestial Smile has assembled, winning five times and placed another 11 from his 16 starts.
Not only is that difficult to do in the tight handicap environment here but the other really impressive part of Celestial Smile's profile is that bad luck has never held him back and he has still found his way into the placings even when races have not worked out for him. That takes some doing and he deserves huge respect in today's race even though he does have a couple of clear obstacles - he has never been past 1,600m in his life and he climbs into Group Three company off his latest Class Two win.
The latter should be taken care of by the sharp drop in weights Celestial Smile gets and that is going to help with the distance too, in a race where turn of foot looks key.
Romantic Touch (Neil Callan) has been in great form this season for Tony Cruz with a change of tactics to being a forward runner and expect him to roll to the front again, as he did when run down late in the January Cup at Happy Valley.
David Hall-trained Bubble Chic may push forward from a wider draw with a light weight but, with Khaya these days seeming more likely to miss the jump than get it right and Flame Hero ridden behind the speed to win the Valley, that might be it for pace runners.
In truly run 1,400m and 1600m races lately, Celestial Smile has sat back in midfield but with the light weight and not as many under him today, perhaps he won't be as far away at this distance.
He won't be wanting to give too much start as Romantic Touch is going to kick strongly at the 400m and de Sousa will be wanting the weights to do their part.
The other one demanding respect at the weights is Top Act (Alex Lai Hoi-wing), who won one of these earlier in the season, has won four of five starts over the Sha Tin 1,800m and was arguably unlucky in the other.
With the low draw he likes, he is another who will stay in touch to the home turn and, while he lacks Celestial Smile's dash, there are no stamina doubts about him.