A wide barrier looked a possible problem for debutant Happy Happy Star on Saturday and so it proved, but he dealt with it manfully in defeat and looks a very solid black booker as his career progresses.
The three-year-old looked good at the trials and was in what looked an average sort of Class Four for his first appearance, but coming up with the outside gate in the field of 12 did appear a handicap.
Joao Moreira tried to offset that by charging out at the start and trying to cross but Neil Callan on Daring Fit was fast enough from barrier one to keep him off the fence.
These two then engaged in a two-horse war for the rest of the race, eyeball to eyeball, and it was the fitter, more experienced horse with the inside rail who prevailed.
But he didn’t prevail by much and that augurs well for the prospects of Happy Happy Star after a pressure situation where any unraced horse might cracked badly.
Happy Happy Star has a background to be above average and suited in this environment; he’s by O’Reilly, whose stock excel in Hong Kong, and out of Classy Fashion, a daughter of Hong Kong Derby heroine Elegant Fashion.
He’ll be better suited with a more relaxed run and as the stalker rather than the stalked and Happy Happy Star is another nice youngster in the Manfred Man Ka-leung team along with Healthy Luck.
Making a belated addition to the black book is World Record from the Tony Millard yard.
As a winner of two on end recently, it might have been thought his winning run could be over but the son of Savabeel showed he is good for a third win this season in Class Four and possibly another when he gets to Class Three.
On Saturday, World Record was posted three wide into the breeze close to the leaders in a strongly run race won by Smiling Charm, and had every excuse to fold up.
He didn’t though and stuck on for second while the other horses in the finish all came from further back and with easier trips.