Trainer David Hall had a quiet time during December but there were signs on Wednesday night at Happy Valley that things are about to change, with two of his beaten runners going into the black book.
The most obvious of them was local maiden Andoyas after he chased home Easy Hedge, recording a very strong time in the Class Three over 1,800m.
Easy Hedge finally got the clear running that he has been denied in recent runs and, in blinkers for the first time, the John Size-trained four-year-old was a comprehensive winner.
To put his win into some context, Easy Hedge ran half a second faster than the January Cup an hour later over the same trip and hit the line in a final sectional that was faster than all but the winner of the Group Three, Harbour Master.
By that reckoning, Easy Hedge would have been an interesting runner if he had been eligible for the main race where Packing Dragon, recently out of Class Three himself, was a close third.
The merit in the run of Andoyas was that he had not started since November 23, conceded the winner five pounds and ran home a couple of lengths faster than him as well. He looks to have his hoof on the till to break through and has shown he can handle Sha Tin as well as the Valley.
Far less obvious was the effort of Digital Pioneer in the fourth at his third appearance in Class Four and he has been showing some signs of life in that grade.
It was his seventh start in Hong Kong and he has yet to collect a cheque, but was another having his first run since late November, also with blinkers reapplied. His closing split to run eighth caught the eye behind Casa Master after what was not just one of the rides of the season from Zac Purton but also looks a good form race.
A maiden winner at Leopardstown over 1,400m, Digital Pioneer has drifted from Class Three on arrival to the bottom half of Class Four and his performances are starting to match his rating now.