Best Step looks the type of progressive and lightly raced individual that can put together a late season run of form and a low draw makes Caspar Fownes’ three-year-old a top pick on Wednesday night at Happy Valley.
As the season drags on, fresh up-and-comers can take advantage against leg weary opposition and Best Step looks ready to progress after an impressive last start win.
A wide draw didn’t stop Best Step from breaking his maiden at career start number four, with the youngster showing good gate speed to lead, and then enough strength to kick again and hold off Flying Monkey.
Now with a light weight up in Class Three, Best Step steps up to 1,200m for the first time, but given the resilience the gelding showed last start, the extra distance shouldn’t be a problem.
Not only did Best Step have to work overtime to get to the front, he then ran a solid 21.47 seconds from the 800m to the 400m as Joao Moreira tried to apply the blowtorch on Flying Monkey.
Best Step relaxed into a rhythm despite being pushed early and then being pestered and that will stand him in good stead here.
With Zac Purton unable to make the weight, Karis Teetan steps in, and from barrier two, he should get a perfect run with the rail in the B position.
They say there is a race for every horse, and if there is ever a race for cult hero Storm Kid, Wednesday’s 2,200m Class Five at Happy Valley is the one.
Storm Kid was once dubbed Hong Kong’s slowest horse and gained popularity not through good performances but being consistently bad.
Getting thrashed has its upside though and Storm Kid’s rating has tumbled down too, placing the five-year-old at the bottom of Class Five.
It was a step up to 2,200m and more positive tactics that resulted in an improvement though, and a last start sixth at triple figure odds was by far a career-best effort.
The problem previously with Storm Kid was that he wasn’t just slow, he lacked stamina as well, which meant he was outpaced in sprints but couldn’t be stretched over further either.
The steep drop in class, plus a little more maturity means Storm Kid could get up to a distance where horses travel slow enough for him to be placed prominently.
Add to that the fact the Valley’s three-turn 2,200m course might be the least demanding over any similar distance in world racing.
Last start, Alvin Ng Ka-chun bounced Storm Kid out of the gates cleanly and bustled the grey forward to lead for the first time into the home straight.
Ng handed up coming to the post for the first time and although box seating might have seen a good option at the time, mid-race moves meant that when it came time to get moving, Storm Kid was left stuck behind horses and waiting for a run.
Given his complete lack of acceleration, Storm’s Kid’s effort to finish just two-and-a-half lengths off, was not only the continuation of what has been a sharp improvement, but probably the type of performance that could win a race of this type.
With Kei Chiong Ka-kei on to ride from barrier four, Storm Kid gets a golden opportunity with bottom weight, but the main danger could be stablemate Medic Swordsman (Teetan) or Moreira’s mount Always Wongchoy.
Iron Boy looks among the best of a top book of rides for Moreira as the Brazilian returns from suspension and begins a late season push at his own record for wins in a season.
With 17 meetings remaining in the term, Moreira has 146 wins, leaving him just 22 short of the new mark he set in 2015-16.
At his current strike rate of 26 per cent, up from 25 per cent last term, Moreira will most likely to be breaking his own record sometime in June.