Improving Yue Lu Treasure can back up and clean up

Trainer David Hall will strike while the iron is hot with Yue Lu Treasure tonight at Happy Valley and the improving five-year-old is well placed to take out the Police Cup (1,800m).

Weighing in last Wednesday at 974 pounds, Yue Lu Treasure was impressive in winning over the extended mile for Brett Prebble, but he has shot up to the top of the weights in the Police Cup. So, mindful of the gelding's physical stature, Hall has switched to top apprentice Keith Yeung Ming-lun to use his seven-pound allowance and bring the weight in the saddle down to a more manageable 126 pounds.

And if Yue Lu Treasure handles the quick back-up to bring his A-game, neither the opposition nor the extra 150m should stand in his way.

Even as a two-year-old, Yue Lu Treasure handled distances in Europe up to a mile and there is every reason to think he will be strong at 1,800m more than two years on.

During Yue Lu Treasure's first year in Hong Kong, the gelding found the firmness of the tracks a problem and was not putting runs together, despite intermittently showing good ability.

Noteworthy among his efforts were runs at Happy Valley, where the more forgiving surface suited, so it was no surprise that when he did break through it was at the city track.

And he could hardly have gone much better last week over 1,650m, but it was the way he hit the line that augured well for his first attempt over further.

Yue Lu Treasure picked up more than four lengths from the 400m to the 200m to claim the lead and, had he just held a winning margin, that would have been a solid enough effort.

But the gelding went right on with it to put almost three lengths between himself and the field at the post and a repeat of anything like that will see him the winner again.

Also on the one-week back-up is the Peter Ng Bik-kuen-trained Vilasol (Matthew Chadwick), who has not done much wrong in his six Hong Kong starts, despite failing to place yet.

The grey found the line well over 1,650m last week behind Green Jacket and looks another suited by the step to 1,800m.

Without Yue Lu Treasure, Prebble jumps to the Caspar Fownes-trained Vanquish Delight in the race and commands plenty of respect, despite a tough barrier draw.

Vanquish Delight was not impressive in winning his last start over the course, but improved with racing last season and looks to be following that pattern again this term.

David Hall, who is fifth in the trainers' table, boasts an impressive strike rate, from 144 runners so far, of: 14%