Former French horse Joyful Trinity looks like he will pay his way here after catching the eye for the second time in two attempts on Sunday and he looks a solid black booker for the coming weeks.

At his debut, the John Moore-trained four-year-old loomed up to get into the finish of the 1,600m race won by Sergeant Titanium on February 28 then just died on his run in the final stages to wind up seventh. That run certainly brought him on in fitness for the drop back to 1,400m on the weekend when Joyful Trinity again settled at the rear before finishing sixth to Precision King, but the story wasn’t as simple as that.

Everywhere Gerald Mosse went, Joyful Trinity found dead ends to run into and the gelding simply never got a clear crack at making up the ground he was giving away.

That was game over in a race where the first two in running ran first and third, dashing home from the top of the lane. Joyful Trinity was versatile in France, performing from 1,300m to 1,600m and on turf, fibresand and polytrack. His only two poor runs from nine outings in France were when he struck wet turf tracks and that was doubtless part of the thinking that has brought him to Hong Kong.

Two races earlier, another standout black booker was Tony Cruz-trained three-year-old California Joy, who has improved with racing and showed just how far when he was afforded a more relaxed run.

In three of his prior four runs, California Joy had been forward competing for the lead and not finishing off his races but stepping up to 1,600m from a midfield position he really ran through the line this time.

California Joy looks open to improvement with more maturity and longer distances and presents an interesting case from a breeding angle. By Fastnet Rock from the Woodman mare Laetitia, he is a brother to Stryker, a dual black type winner over sprint distances in Australia but now making a bigger name for himself as a stallion, including siring the recent New Zealand Derby winner Rangipo.