A drop back in distance looks the key factor for consistent Thunder Stomp to get back in the winning photo at Happy Valley on Wednesday night after the Chai Wan Kok Handicap (1,650m).
The Me Tsui Yu-sak-trained five-year-old rarely runs a bad race and looks to be at his best over the extended mile at the Valley, where he was a strong Class Three winner three runs back.
Since then, Thunder Stomp (Umberto Rispoli) has run well in Class Two over this same distance, despite his apprentice rider making a little too much use of him behind Lucky Girl, and then was not disgraced behind The Golden Age.
That was over 1,800m and this time Dylan Mo Hin-tung gave him a great ride, getting the gelding to race in a more relaxed fashion and he had his chance to beat the Derby-bound winner.
But Thunder Stomp did look like the 1,800m stretched his stamina right to its edge and Tsui dropping him back to 1,650m looks important as he is very strong at the finish over that distance.
Thunder Stomp makes his own luck in races by racing forward and, with one of the bottom weights, he will keep punching at the end in a race that appears to set up for the on-speed horses.
California Whip, Marvel Tribe, Beauty Prince (Matthew Poon Ming-fai) and Thunder Stomp look the ones most likely to decide the speed of the race and will almost certainly take them along at a casual tempo.
Thunder Stomp’s main danger might be a horse who won’t have the pace in his favour but he does come with a good quality form line from Ireland, the John Size-trained Insayshable (Joao Moreira).
This guy is headed towards the Derby and Size has given him a good foundation at the trials before his local debut. He looks to be going well and, while 1,650m might be on the short side for him as time goes on, Insayshable will be fresh tonight and that can help him sprint well.