There were plenty of new horses stepping out at Sha Tin on Sunday and two of them go into the black book after making a good impression.
California Fortune was a smart winner in the Lok Sin Tong Cup but, behind him, newcomer Wishful Thinker managed to pick up minor prizemoney at his first attempt here.
The Richard Gibson-trained Wishful Thinker looked a handy sprinter in Australia under the name Katsuro, and improved at every one of his six races there, always a good sign.
His trials in Hong Kong had indicated the likelihood of a good showing and he closed off well from back in the field to take third.
Wishful Thinking should come on for that experience and pick up a race sooner rather than later as he looks capable of getting himself to Class Two, but there is one caveat on his promising profile.
The gelding was not a good beginner in Australia and his manners in three barrier trials had not been great here either, and that will make the job so much harder even for a horse who might just be a little better than his handicap rating.
However, Wishful Thinking did jump better on Sunday before being positioned back from his wide gate and maybe Gibson is getting on top of that part of his game.
In the first, most punters will have Thou Shall Sing in their black books after the Chris So Wai-yin-trained gelding looked unlucky to be beaten. He should soon put that right and looks fully capable of switching up to 1,200m right away but the fourth-placed Pleasant Guy also looks promising.
His dirt trials were horrible but his turf trial down the straight had been quite good and returning to that course obviously suited him.
Like Thou Shall Sing, he had a few traffic problems, but the main appeal of the Tony Millard-trained gelding is that he looks open to more improvement than So’s unlucky runner, who has had such a thorough preparation.
Pleasant Guy also has a pedigree that gives him a little scope regarding distance, with his dam sire Senor Pete more of a miler-middle distance influence than a sprint bloodline.