The Dennis Yip Chor-hong-trained Starlight is on the improve and can make his first appearance in Class Three a winning one in the Citi Sprint Challenge Cup (1,200m) at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
Starlight (Zac Purton) is a typical Yip-trained slow burner, a horse who shows little glimpses of worthwhile ability early without lighting any fires as “promising”, then gradually puts together a career over time that acquires quite a handy look to it.
The gelding didn’t attract a lot of attention in the first half of last season but kept on improving and wound up with two wins and two placings over this course and distance from his final five starts.
Resuming behind Fox Sunter, he ran a ripping third with the tempo completely against him then built on that again with a soft victory to take him out of Class Four.
That recent form line now reads three wins and three minor placings from his past seven starts after just one placing from his first nine appearances.
The way he put away subsequent Class Four winner Smart Boy last time suggested his run is not yet over and he would struggle to find a better set-up for his introduction to Class Three.
There is plenty of pace drawn wide, some pace drawn low and Starlight maps to land in midfield or thereabouts from an inside gate and, even without the apprentice claim he had last time, he drops five pounds in the weights.
That is going to count for something when Purton brings him out to chase down the speed horses who will have worn each other out in the first 800m.
And it will mean something vis-à-vis the main opposition, Brave Legend (Matthew Chadwick), who was also an impressive winner first-up for the season but in this grade, which means he goes to the top of the weights and conceding Starlight 12 pounds.
Both want speed on and will be finishing off but that weight difference looks enough to swing things towards Starlight.