Caspar Fownes-trained Military Attack is over his more unfamiliar health issues and will don blinkers for the first time in an attempt to earn a trip to Dubai in the HK$10 million Citibank Hong Kong Gold Cup at Sha Tin on Sunday.
The former horse of the year has not run since his short-head second to Designs On Rome on international day, and missed a clash with the same horse in the Centenary Vase early this month after a mysterious and continual weight loss but Fownes is once again comfortable with Military Attack's well-being.
"We're still managing his foot issues and he's always a little bit jointy, but those are a constant thing with him," Fownes said.
"His weight loss was just one of those things that happens at different times to horses here - often when you're going from one extreme to another in the weather, some lose their appetite or get spikes in temperature. I'm putting it down to that.
"He got down to 1,026 pounds, which is too light and that's why he was scratched from the last run, then went back to 1,062 and now he's about 1,040, which is near to his fighting weight, although I actually think he looks better to the eye with a little more on him than that."
Military Attack worked well on Saturday morning and will have the blinkers for the first time after trialling nicely in them.
"He's thrown away the race at his last couple of runs when he ducked out late and was beaten in short margins by Blazing Speed and Designs On Rome," Fownes said. "Zac Purton got suspended on one of those days on him and I think if he'd won the photo finish last start in the Hong Kong Cup he would have lost the race in the stewards' room for ducking out.
"Maybe it's the big Longines clock on the inside of the track now, we don't know, but hopefully the cups will straighten it out. If he races well in them they'll stay on and, if he doesn't, we'll think about something else."
Although Designs On Rome has had the recent race, winning the Centenary Vase since the Hong Kong Cup, Fownes said the break wasn't his concern in the Gold Cup.
"He's very clean-winded, he's in good form and I don't worry about the other horse having had the run," Fownes said. "Military Attack doesn't need much training to be fit enough to run very well and then we can look at our options for Dubai."
Fownes will also run talented four-year-old Gun Pit on Sunday in the Class Two over 1,800m and maintain course to the BMW Hong Kong Derby after scrapping a Dubai tour.
"If he had gone to Dubai, he'd have to work his way through the system to qualify for a big one and that also means none of his travel expenses would be paid," Fownes said. "It's a shame we don't have better class dirt races over longer distances to get his rating up, because he is really good on the surface. Anyway, we will ride him quietly Sunday, let him hit the line and, like that, he could be able to earn some prize money in the Derby."
Meanwhile, Jockey Tommy Berry returns on Sunday after John Moore booked him to pilot Harbour Master in the Gold Cup.