The Chris So Wai-yin-trained A Beautiful returned to the class where all his successes have come at Sha Tin on Sunday and might have been a little unfortunate not to get the prize.
The gelding’s prior 10 starts in Class Four had produced all of his three wins as well as two minor placings, while he has struggled up a grade all his career. His 32 starts in Class Three have yielded only one third placing.
So, despite some moderate on-paper form recently, it was some sort of surprise to see him sent out at a big price after dropping back down in grade, with blinkers back on and over the same track and distance where all of those wins have also been scored.
Maybe punters took it as a negative that Joao Moreira wasn’t aboard, as the Brazilian had been called on for the winning mount the last time A Beautiful had been in Class Four in October, and in the final analysis that might have been the difference between winning and losing.
Apprentice Jack Wong Ho-nam wasn’t helped by a wide draw but probably just made too much use of the six-year-old in the middle stages, working around to the outside of the eventual winner, Moreira’s mount Right Call.
But, having got to Right Call, Wong didn’t take a breather outside him, he kept pressing forward, setting up a lead of several lengths in a fast sectional before turning into the straight and that extra effort saw the gelding run out of steam in the final stages.
He kicked on well enough to the 200m and momentarily looked like he might carry on but Right Call got the better of their battle passing the 100m mark while Empire Star and Merrygowin got past him close to the line to relegate him to fourth.
Still, the gelding was only beaten a length on the line and a more measured ride from the 800m to the 400m may have left him without enough energy to scramble in.
Forget about the generous odds when he next races but A Beautiful has put the writing on the wall, as they say, and win number four looks imminent.