Favourites Danacourt and Noble Crusader may have been the focus of the majority of public interest in last Saturday's feature race at Sha Tin, but from a future viewpoint it was hard not be impressed with the performance of third-placed Expectations. The Peter Ng Bik-kuen-trained gelding turned in a terrific performance to finish third to Noble Crusader and the ever-improving Firm Offer, and was unlucky not to have wound up closer. Expectations was restrained early from his wide alley and after making ground early in the straight, was held up for a run. But once in the clear he finished smartly to be beaten three-quarters of a length. First-up last season, Expectations also turned in an excellent performance behind Swiss Lad and was then desperately unlucky at his following start behind quality galloper Fifty Fifty. Although his only win to date came on the all-weather surface, he has proven himself to be a very adaptable horse over varying distances and on both surfaces. Ng has done a terrific job with Expectations and the respected horseman, who landed a winner earlier in the day with Gold Digger, is soon to get his just rewards with the five-year-old. Danacourt was brilliant in winning his local debut last season but appeared to be a different horse this time compared to the speedster that we saw last term. He looked unusually light for a John Size-trained horse and is obviously not an easy one to keep condition on. The New Zealand private purchase was outpaced early and never really looked a winning chance after losing his position in the initial stages. Jockey Douglas Whyte had trouble obtaining a clear run early in the straight and by the time he got Danacourt into full stride, the race was all over but his final 200 metres was smart. The evidence from the race is that Danacourt will be better when he gets over more ground, provided he has the constitution to handle the tasks involved. Noble Crusader was given every chance by Felix Coetzee and it confirmed the belief that he is better suited at 1,200m rather than 1,400m. Trainer Tony Cruz later said that he was having some internal problems, which would explain why he was just struggling to win beyond the basic sprint distance last campaign despite having every chance in the run. Being kept fresh and remaining at sprint trips will see him winning again. Forgive the effort of Brains Trust, who failed to get on the track, and Chateau King Prawn, who is not at home on wet ground. The way Chateau King Prawn has been working in the mornings suggests he will be finding winning form very soon, but it will probably be at the minimum trip down the Sha Tin straight. It doesn't look like Size has got to the bottom of Clean Sweep at this stage, and the progressive bay gelding could well continue on his winning way. He was too good for Victory Turbo, who was given a perfect ride by Olivier Doleuze, and Clean Sweep hit the line with some to spare. The fact that the first two pulled such a big margin on the third horse, the luckless Join Victory, suggests they should both continue to feature in early-season races. Without a doubt, the day's best losing performance came from Time Supreme, who finished second to Circuit Kingdom in race 10 after coming from a seemingly hopeless position on the home turn.