Thirty two starts into his Hong Kong career, Red Marvel is hitting his peak and the five-year-old is going to go close again in the Japan Racing Association Trophy (1,650m) at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
Red Marvel (Joao Moreira) looked to have found his mark some time ago but his three races in a new campaign this season have suggested otherwise.
The gelding has been close to the lead in fast-run races at his past two starts over this trip, at the Valley and then on the dirt, and both times he has been very tough at the finish, winding up a close third to Gonna Run and then holding off the late charge of Willie Way.
In that last start win, Red Marvel hit a high point in the handicap ratings by winning off a mark of 75 and, to win again, he would need to push that personal best even higher.
But there is reason to think that is within his capabilities as the John Size-trained gelding will encounter what looks to be a lower-pressure event than those in which has been racing so well.
He will take his usual place up on the speed, perhaps in the box seat or even leading if necessary, in a race that looks like it will only be steadily run and he will get every chance to improve again.
His obvious danger looks the Frankie Lor Fu-chuen-trained Dr Win Win (Vincent Ho Chak-yiu), who likewise did a good job winning his latest effort over this course.
From gate nine that night, Dr Win Win did have a little bit of work to do in the first half of the race before getting around to the position outside the lead.
He gave a good kick in the straight to score and, while he has a similar draw, he does appear to have some upside.
He has raced only eight times here and has yet to fully produce his best from his previous career in Italy, so he looks a serious danger.