First Sight Love was 10th across the line but still hard to miss at his first run back for a new campaign two weeks ago at Happy Valley, but the Ireland Trophy, over 1,650m at the course on Wednesday night gives him a chance to put things right.
The Almond Lee-trained four-year-old has been to the Valley at two of his four runs here so far and beaten home a total of four rivals, but each time there has been a story.
At his local debut, First Sight Love got onto heels at the 600m turn when he was already racing greenly and went up in the air, overreacting so badly to the incident that he checked himself right back through the field to last before running on again in the straight.
He should have finished much closer there, but that was child’s play compared with his last start 10th to Amazingly, when he might just as easily have finished in a place or even won.
Olivier Doleuze, who spent a great deal of time and effort in the mornings helping Lee to get First Sight Love ready, found himself with plenty of horse but utterly surrounded down the home straight. He tried a few different exits and none opened, so First Sight Love went past the post untested while one of the horses he was climbing all over, Great And Beyond, finished less than a length from the winner in third.
The race on Wednesday night shapes as an evenly-run affair, which might help with navigation, although it would be unlucky indeed to run into such problems twice in a row.
Bullish Boy (Keith Yeung Ming-lun), My Goal (Ben So Tik-hung) and Absolute Fantasy (Vincent Ho Chak-yiu) are most likely to be the ones pushing forward early, but rivals who take Bullish Boy on for the lead have been finding out that it doesn’t do their own chances much good so the other pair may let him roll.
The danger is the John Size-trained Classic Jewellery (Joao Moreira), who is first-up but races best fresh and shapes to land in his ideal scenario – fourth, trailing the lead without having to work.