Jockey Chad Schofield can bounce back from an unlucky Sunday at Sha Tin when he combines with trainer Richard Gibson on sprinters Powermax and Kwaichung Brothers at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
Schofield returned from a month-long running and handling suspension on Sunday with three seconds and two thirds but Gibson’s Powermax and Kwaichung Brothers can help him notch a win after his frustrating day.
Both have drawn better barriers as the rail returns to the A position and going off recent runs, should start close to favouritism in their respective events.
After drawing 12 last start and now set to jump from gate three against a field lacking depth, in-from sprinter Powermax will be hard to beat in the Class Three Merlion Handicap (1,200m).
Powermax went within inches of winning three straight races last start after the four-year-old was forced to work hard from a wide barrier early.
Since a sound debut at the Valley in November, Powermax has continued to progress through six starts at the city track and now has the gate speed to take advantage of his draw.
Vying for favouritism will be three-year-old Healthy Luck (Douglas Whyte) after being beaten a short head by Harrier Jet last time out over the course and distance.
If Schofield can keep Kwaichong Brothers close from gate one in the Class Four Bukit Timah Handicap (1,200m), the four-year-old looks like getting a perfect run.
Some poor early form has seen Kwaichung Brothers’ rating drop to 42 and the Australian-bred sprinter looks to have acclimatised and is well-weighted with just 115 pounds here.
The real kickers are a step up in distance and the barrier, after the gelding rattled home for third behind Circuit King in a leader dominated race last time out.
Of Kwaichung Brothers’ rivals, a switch back to the smaller track looks ideal for Dennis Yip Chor-hong’s Starlight (Karis Teetan), who could represent some value.
Starlight showed his first signs of life over the course and distance earlier this season but failed to finish off when stretched over further.
Brought back to 1,200m last time out at Sha Tin, Starlight raced three-wide with no cover but still fought on bravely for third.
A fast run 1,200m on the A course might be just what Starlight needs, whether or not he gets the right race setup is another matter though, in a contest lacking obvious leaders.
While Powermax and Healthy Luck standout as a clear top two in their race, the other section of the Merlion Handicap is far more competitive.
Jumbo Happiness (Vincent Ho Chak-yiu) is chasing three straight, Perpetual Joyance (Karis Teetan) has won two of his last three, while Amazing (Umberto Rispoli) caught the eye when charging home on debut.
The two top weights Back In Black (Zac Purton) and Malmsteen (Nash Rawiller) also drop back into a grade where they both dominated last season.
The race of the night might be the closer, the Class Two Lion City Handicap (1,650m), in which the four-year-old form gets another chance to shine when Winner’s Way (Purton) comes to Happy Valley for the first time.
Winner’s Way won two of his first three for Tony Cruz before two honest fourths, the second of which was in January’s Hong Kong Classic Mile behind Rapper Dragon, Seasons Bloom and Beauty Generation.
That form has continued to hold up through both the four-year-old series and again on Sunday, when Rapper Dragon and Beauty Generation both won.
Winner’s Way was then found wanting when ridden aggressively over 1,800m in the Hong Kong Classic Cup, but has since acquitted himself well in Class Two.
If not for a slow start, Winner’s Way might have won over a mile at Sha Tin just over two weeks ago, with race position costing the gelding badly.
Given the horses he has form around, and what they have done since, Winner’s Way seems to have scope to rise off his mark of 95.
He will face some stiff opposition though, with the likes of Jolly Banner (Rawiller), Dynamism (Whyte), Baba Mama (Alex Lai Hoi-wing) and Mighty Maverick (Kei Chiong Ka-kei) all with claims.