A drop in grade for Western Express should prove the vital ingredient for the John Size-trained five-year-old in the Panasonic Cup (1,400m) at Sha Tin on Saturday.
Western Express (Joao Moreira) was well backed but looked disappointing last time out behind Beauty Generation over 1,600m in Group Two company and he has been like that a few times when Size has thrown him into the higher grade races.
He drops back to Class One conditions here, meeting a few of the other beaten runners from that last race, and as a result he soars in the handicap weights.
But taking a lower aim with the handsome chestnut looks important and he has the luxury of a low draw in a race where tactics and position will be vital.
The Cup lacks real speed runners, with the most likely New Asia Sunrise and Way May Friend, who are regularly towards the front in races, but they are not likely to run the field along too quickly.
The Caspar Fownes-trained Limitless brings an interesting angle to the race tactics as he has been running in or on the lead in his trials, which is the opposite of his previous pattern, so he could be a leader as well but also doesn’t look the kind to run them along.
So a muddling pace could mean that horses with a wider draw and not a lot of early pace, like Booming Delight (Sam Clipperton), will have a few issues to sort out if they are going to win.
Western Express was at short odds when the market opened but that is not appropriate, as this is a wide open race with many chances.
Racing Supernova (Nash Rawiller) is another with an inside draw and he has a terrific turn of foot, suited in a sprint home scenario.
He was excellent behind Fifty Fifty first-up in a slowly run 1,400m in Class Two, showing plenty of dash to get into second from way out the back and he has performed well in similar races before.
The other fascinating runner, and a threat at good odds, is Exultant (Matthew Chadwick), having his first start in Hong Kong.
He had tremendous form in Ireland that is right up to winning here with such a light weight and a couple of his trials have been eye-catching, even if they were in fairly slow heats and thus might have been flattering.
It is a low percentage play tipping horses to win Class Ones first time out in Hong Kong but, in the last 15 years, nobody has done that more often than Tony Cruz – in fact nobody else is even close – who saddles up this Derby aspirant here and do not be surprised if he is right in the finish.