A strangely configured Bauhinia Sprint Trophy at Sha Tin on Sunday offers the John Size-trained House Of Fun an unexpected but second-to-none chance to land a Group Three prize.
House Of Fun (Joao Moreira) has never really promised to make it to the upper echelon of sprinters but has steadily worked his way up the rankings to be a solid galloper at the head of Class Two. Group Three winners are not usually rated 103 but it seems it might be enough under the handicaps of Sunday’s feature.
Many of his rivals are also coming out of Class Two performances with only the top weight and 2016 winner of this race, Not Listenin’tome, known for Group level form in the past.
The John Moore-trained seven-year-old is returning to his best course and distance but he has not appeared to be the horse he was and conceding plenty of weight all around might be asking too much.
House Of Fun returned a stronger animal as a five-year-old this term as his performances clicked up a notch, even though he hasn’t won in six appearances.
That lack of a win has largely been a matter of luck – he should have beaten stablemate and Sunday’s rival Premiere (Karis Teetan) in November over the straight course, then was caught wide when he was run down on the post by Fight Hero on the dirt two runs back.
His latest effort was also lacking good fortune, when he was checked just after the start at Happy Valley over 1,200m, then got to the line well late to be fourth to another rival, Archippus (Derek Leung Ka-chun).
He could, arguably, have won any of those, and now gets the right sort of race map in the smallish field down the straight 1,000m to be strong at the finish and take out a feature.
There is good pace in front of him with Fabulous One, Premiere and Bad Boy all possessing strong early speed and they could get tangled up in a fight for the lead.
House Of Fun will be camped behind them and working up into the fray in the final 300m where the finishers will get their chance.
For all of that, there is a truth to 1,000m horses being hard to beat in 1,000m races, as they are a specific style of race that not all horses can do and that means Premiere deserves respect. He has the pace to race with the lead but has come from behind twice to win so he does have some versatility to him.
Moore’s other runner, Magic Legend (Matthew Chadwick) is a potential surprise packet coming back from 1,400m races, as his record down the straight is good and he should be finding the line well.