It has been almost 17 months since he last tasted success, but could this be the night for Frankie Lor Fu-chuen’s Country Melody?
The gelding last won on December 22, 2016 – two trainers ago – but he gets the chance to end the drought in the Class Three St George’s Challenge Cup (1,000m) at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
After winning in Class Two on that occasion off a rating of 92, Country Melody was transferred from John Size to Gary Ng Ting-keung before moving to Lor’s stable at the start of the season.
Country Melody has three thirds from nine starts this term, but he has never been too far away, with his largest margin of defeat standing at four-and-a-half lengths.
This is an open contest, but the six-year-old looks well-placed and, with a bit of luck in running, can find his way back into the winner’s circle.
Four starts back over this track and trip, he finished off strongly to place behind Moment Of Power and that bodes well for this event.
Country Melody drops down to a rating of 78 – his lowest since June 2015 – with the added kicker of Victor Wong Chun’s claim bringing his weight down to 122 pounds.
From the inside gate, he should settle midfield on the rail with the likes of Dragon Pioneer and Healthy Luck (Vincent Ho Chak-yiu) rolling to the front.
Assuming Country Melody gets a cosy run in transit, Wong will just need to find a clear run at the top of the straight, and if does, he can be right in the finish.
However, there are plenty dangers, headed by the Caspar Fownes-trained Smart Declaration (Zac Purton).
The seven-year-old has looked good in his past two runs, winning when top weight in Class Four and then rattling home to finish third behind Money Boy last start.
Smart Declaration meets Money Boy much better at the weights for the half-length defeat this time around and should be around the mark again.
Like Country Melody, General Iron (Douglas Whyte) has gone a long time between wins – he last saluted in November 2015 – but hasn’t been too far away and wouldn’t surprise while Dragon Pioneer is building towards a win and get the services of Joao Moreira.