The Class Three Cricket Club Valley Stakes (1,650m) is one of the most open races of the season, but a good barrier can help Silverfield atone after a couple of near misses at Happy Valley recently.
It is the sort of race where you could make a case for each of the 12 runners – so much so that the outsider of the field in the early market was New Zealand Group One winner Dukedom.
Five of the contestants came through a similar event over the same course and distance four weeks ago when Outlawed beat Silverfield by a neck with Thunder Stomp third from Sky Melody and Let’s Take It Easy. Less than two lengths separated those five and they all clash again on Wednesday night.
The Michael Freedman-trained Silverfield only rises two pounds for finishing second – he would have won in another stride or two – but now draws the inside alley meaning jockey Umberto Rispoli should be able to settle a little closer. He has a strong finishing burst and is racing well – that makes him the one to beat.
Outlawed had the run of the race last time out but goes up five pounds and now has to overcome barrier nine, making Chad Schofield’s life a little more difficult.
There doesn’t look to be much pace in the race which should allow Thunder Stomp to take up the early running again, but he now goes up seven pounds with Joao Moreira replacing Jack Wong Ho-nam in the saddle.
Sky Melody earned a spot in the black book after an eye-catching run last time, but he has drawn wide again and Karis Teetan is likely to have the job in front of him with only a moderate speed expected.
That leaves Let’s Take It Easy, who had no luck last start when trapped three-wide without cover, but barrier 10 means Zac Purton might end up in a similar position. If the Australian can slot in he looks the main danger.
Of the others, John Moore’s Shamport (Neil Callan) has shown promise but is yet to prove himself over further than 1,400m and has never been to the Valley, while John Size’s Har Har Heart (Wong) has been racing consistently and needs to be respected.
The other variable is Frankie Lor Fu-chuen’s Cheerful Star (Victor Wong Chun), who makes his Hong Kong debut after winning two races in France.
The four-year-old has looked good in his lead-up trials and it wouldn’t shock to see him in the finish either, but again, you could say that for all 12 runners.