The Tony Cruz-trained Circuit King goes to the dirt for the first time on Wednesday night in the Hebe Hill Handicap, 1,200m, and his breeding says it might get him back to winning ways.
Circuit King (Vincent Ho Chak-yiu) is a son of High Chaparral, whose stock have shown a liking for the surface, and out of a mare by Elusive Quality, whose stock have excelled on it.
Circuit King may have earned a reputation with some of being a non-winner due to his seven second placings from 15 starts, but he has been very tough, very often competing for fast leads and still fighting on. He did manage to scrape home for a Happy Valley win in Class Four in those circumstances at his final run for the campaign last season.
His first run back this term again saw him part of a very fast lead pace at the Valley and this time, short of top fitness, he couldn’t fight on and finished well back.
However, Cruz has had him back at the trials again since, where he performed well enough on the all-weather to suggest a better performance is on the way and the switch in surface looks significant.
In a race with so much alternative speed, he might even get the chance to sit behind some of his rivals rather than slug it out for the front all the way, but the key point is his light weight as he may just keep running even if he is used early.
His obvious danger looks top weight Disciples Twelve (Zac Purton), who returned to the dirt last time and was a touch unlucky not to finish closer behind Team Fortune although his get back style will always require some luck.
With Sky Hero, Super Man (Brett Prebble), Our Folks and Startling Power with his blinkers back on, there looks good speed in the race that should enable Disciples Twelve to get into the race late.