Trainer Me Tsui Yu-sak rarely goes home from an all-weather meeting without a winner and one of his stable stars, Fight Hero, gets all the right conditions to land the prize in Wednesday night’s Hoi Yuen Handicap (1,200m) at Sha Tin.
Tsui is a regular winner on the dirt and the same is true of Fight Hero (Vincent Ho Chak-yiu), who has specialised on the surface where his four wins have all come over this distance.
At his most recent victory in December, Fight Hero was badly underrated by the betting public, going out at 20-1 before he overhauled House Of Fun right on the post to score but he is unlikely to be the same sort of price on Wednesday night.
What really plays into his favour in this race is the hot speed that looks likely, with go-forward runners like Pablosky, Team Fortune and California Fortune engaged while even the new John Size-trained Private Purchase Gunnison (Karis Teetan) is a potential contributor to the pace.
Fight Hero can be a bit hit and miss with his own early speed, but in recent times he has been more of a run-on type suited by pressure at the front end of the race so that the leaders are coming back to him as he is picking up speed.
Since he won two starts back, Fight Hero has been back to the races on the dirt but over 1,650m. And, while he ran well enough for fifth to Classic Emperor, his record at the shorter trip has been vastly superior to date so he should be looked at differently here.
Still, the race is no pushover. Jing Jing Win (Joao Moreira) is an interesting proposition at his first attempt on the surface. He has not been disappointing – he’s had nine starts and is in Class Two – but just hasn’t lived up to his early wraps.
The dirt represents a new avenue for him and he looks one of the hardest to beat from a low draw.