BERKUT can finally get his head in front in this afternoon's sixth event at Sha Tin. The David Oughton-trained stayer has been an habitual placegetter for much of his career and, admittedly, has a few tricks up his sleeve to actually get out of winning. But there is no truer racing adage in Hong Kong than 'there's a race for all horses providing they fall far enough down the handicap scale' - and it looks especially apt for Berkut this afternoon. He was returning from a mid-season break when running sixth to one of today's rivals, Winning Stallion, in a Classes Four and Five event over 2,000 metres last time out. Berkut would almost certainly have needed that run and can now meet Winning Stallion on nine pounds better terms for four lengths. The more experienced claimer, Raymond S. M. Tam, now takes over from Oughton's girl claimer Win L. F. Chung. That should also help Berkut in this local riders' affair though Win Chung has been improving of late and horses do seem to travel kindly for her. She is the kind of claimer who could make rapid progress next season, especially if she picks up valuable experience abroad during the summer. But back to Berkut and the other thing about him is that he is likely to be at reasonable odds, despite a whole series of Topspeed ratings which give him a distinct edge over his opponents. This consistent set of figures suggests it will be hard to keep him out of the first three and that provides a valuable safety net for punters who can back him win and place. Because he has a reputation for being a bit of a dodgy proposition, he is likely to pay reasonable odds not just in the win pool but also in the place pool as well. Thunder And Gold is hard to leave out of consideration as he has dropped so far down the weights which, correspondingly, pushes his Topspeed rating higher as the final figure is a combination of time, weight and an adjustment for the prevailing going. I also have a healthy respect for Money Fountain who, like Berkut, has a very consistent set of speed figures to his name and is a leading candidate for anyone taking tierces. Perhaps the biggest danger, though, is the improving Each Own Way. On what he has achieved so far he just misses out being in my first three selections. I have him on the same mark as Money Fountain and just four pounds behind Berkut on his highly creditable second to Country Lad last time out. I haven't tipped him in the first three on the basis that the others have achieved their Topspeed figure more times than he has. But it would be wrong not to confront the possibility that Each Own Way is the horse with the most potential in the race and I would advise keeping him safe in all quinella and tierce wagers, especially as trainer Wong Tang-ping has applied blinkers for the first time. Back in England the first-time application of blinkers is a myth. Horses more often than not still run badly, despite their help. In Hong Kong it is totally different, these gear changes are terribly significant and my track spies tell me that Each Own Way has been sharpened up by their application for his early-morning workouts. What are we to make of the big race, the Chairman's Prize and the chances of Mr Vitality? He's probably going to start around the 2-1 mark and may even jump at odds-on. Does he merit those kind of odds? The Topspeed answer is not on what he has achieved so far in Hong Kong. Of course he has the potential, that is obvious from the merit of his two runs for two wins since arriving in the territory. But he is facing significantly harder company this afternoon and his speed ratings do indeed suggest he is looking for further. Ironically, he may find two of his stablemates very tough nuts to crack. Quick Action comes out best on my figures and is probably better running round a bend than down the straight course. Second on the list is All Thrills who is a very competitive individual in these condition sprints as he showed when second in the Centenary Cup and when the first locally trained horse home in the International Bowl. Kadbridge should not be dismissed either. He is a very versatile type with extremely solid handicap form to his name. He can add value to the tierce.