If connections were hoping to see some improvement from Smart Salute when he hit Class Five, they might be disappointed to see that he is not getting any closer to that grade but, on the plus side, they may not have to wait for that to see him win anyway.
The former British-trained galloper arrived here off a 65 rating in Class Three after a fairly well-explored career of 15 starts for Ed Walker and two minor wins, and his Hong Kong career has been pretty much all downwards movement in the handicap.
However the five-year-old put one or two decent runs together at the end of last season and makes the black book after his three starts this term culminating in Wednesday night’s fourth to Sharp Hunter.
He has been variously eye-catching or unlucky and the Happy Valley run was in the former bracket, charging to the line late to just miss the placings.
Quite clearly, Smart Salute has arrived at a point where his talent meets the handicap and a break through at the bottom of Class Four appears imminent.
This was Smart Salute’s first go at Happy Valley and he seems quite at home on that surface, which ties in with a couple of his better performances being on the dirt at Sha Tin, so either option will suit.
The other one with a flashing light on the night was Super Turbo, who should have gone close to winning the final race instead of finishing ninth.
Zac Purton was snookered in the straight behind Fish N’ Chips and Regency Darling, who finished fourth and fifth respectively, and he certainly would have beaten both of them home with clear running.
As Fish N’ Chips was only beaten just over a length, Super Turbo would have been much closer than that to Happy Surveys and perhaps even in front of him.
The David Hall team is going particularly well and there were others on the night who advertised themselves as coming winners for the yard – Kirov and Happy And Healthy both did well first run from the break – but Super Turbo looked the standout.