Trainer David Hayes' smart youngster Smashing Pumpkin can take a significant step forward tonight if he wins the final event on the Happy Valley programme. The Jockey Club has saved the best until last with a Class One 1,800-metre event as the nightcap and it will certainly test Smashing Pumpkin who has quickly emerged as a likely contender for honours at a high level in local racing. But he faces two specific hurdles tonight apart from the quality of the opposition. The Australian-bred three-year-old will be tackling this distance for the first time and, of course, it will be his first visit to Happy Valley which can be something of an ordeal for young horses. Hayes said: 'In Hong Kong you just have to take the races as they come along and this time he was eligible for the Happy Valley race. Rather than wait when he is obviously in good shape we decided to let him take his chance. 'I don't think there are hard and fast rules about Happy Valley. He may well like the experience. I just hope there is some pace on.' There is little doubt that Hayes will get that request safely answered as Winning Lad, Key Import and Lucky Partners are all involved and any of them could supply a good clip in front. In fact, the presence of these three noted front-runners strongly suggests that it could be something coming from behind that would eventually take the race - and Smashing Pumpkin fits the bill. He showed at his debut just what a good type in the making he is by coming from well off the pace over 1,400 metres to win going away. It was an impressive performance and the horse had been substantially supported. He was even tighter in the market at his last run - his second - when stepping up in distance to 1,600 metres at Sha Tin. He lost no admirers when finishing second to Adjareli, again coming from off the pace. Smashing Pumpkin finished a length and a quarter from the winner, but had the smart Coach Maniac behind him in third and there seems little doubt that this form is going to hold up extremely well. Adjareli was ideally suited by the 1,600 metres and the way the race panned out. The Irish 2,000 Guineas runner-up was drawn against the rail and likes to lay up on the pace which he did perfectly. He then cleared away like a good horse, changing pace quickly to put a winning gap in the field. It was a move that Smashing Pumpkin, having to come from well off the pace, could not counter. Smashing Pumpkin looks suited by the step up to 1,800 metres and the contours of Happy Valley which place some emphasis on stamina. On what has been shown so far, he is clearly the one they have to worry about in this 12-runner final event and is a confident selection. Lucky Partners has no worries about the city track and he could be the one to trouble the selection, although he is unlikely to get his own way in front. It would also be difficult to quibble about the latest form as he finished less than five lengths from his illustrious stablemate, Oriental Express, in the Derby. That was a bold effort and there is no doubt that tonight's contest is not of quite the same calibre suggesting that the Ivan Allan-trained stayer could be right there at the finish. Winning form is good form but this is a lot harder so Joint Account, who sprang a surprise last time, is unlikely to repeat the shock. Drifting Away is a solid contender as he has been working excellently and looks well suited. Eric Saint-Martin takes over from claimer Peter Y. S. Wong and the French jockey goes well in races of this type. So, too, does Drifting Away. Sky Coast may just have lost his edge while Legitimate is a chance as he has run well at this venue before, but tonight's event is no easier than a couple he has been in recently. All Thrills and Smiling both have it to do while Celestial Fortune should not be troubling his fancied stablemate, Smashing Pumpkin. He does not look to have anything like the same scope.