The Michael Freedman-trained Elite Boy didn’t surprise with his improved run on Wednesday night on the dirt, but it did add another string to his bow and he looks a coming winner.

Elite Boy had trialled particularly well even before his debut run, when he worked hard from a wide draw to sit outside the leader in the race won by Nice Kick.

The early effort there told in the straight and the gelding couldn’t go on, finishing third-last but the extenuating circumstances meant that it was a forgivable flop.

On Wednesday night, gate two was much kinder to the three-year-old and Tommy Berry was able to give him a softer run in the box seat before Elite Boy finished off strongly to just miss behind Winning Supreme.

Photo finish finally goes Michael Freedman’s way as Verbinsky gets home at Sha Tin

It was a run with “back me next time” written all over it and the simplest conclusion would be to suggest it was the change of surfaces.

While Elite Boy had trialled well on the dirt, he also won a trial down the straight at Sha Tin on turf so he might be more versatile than just a dirt horse and Freedman should find a winning option with him soon.

Another with his hoof on the till is Mi Blanco, after the Tony Millard-trained four-year-old finished strongly into second behind Happy Happy Star over 1,200m.

Mi Blanco had yet to place in six starts before Wednesday but his performances had not been without merit and he looked in need of racing and experience.

This was the first attempt on the dirt from the son of Cape Blanco, and he was dropping back sharply in distance to a short sprint.

His breeding suggests that the mile races he had been contesting prior should suit better and so does the way he hit the line, so perhaps he has just been looking for the dirt surface.

Wednesday’s run cost him a drop into Class Five in the immediate future, but he looks capable at the bottom of Class Four in any case.

His dam Mi Centie has already thrown Hong Kong winners Mi Reilly, Mi Savvy and Mi Savvy Boy, and Mi Blanco doesn’t look like letting the family down.

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