Winning Supreme has turned his form around in a big way since January and the Me Tsui Yu-sak-trained sprinter gets a great chance at some silverware on Monday in the Hong Kong Lions Cup (1,200m) at Sha Tin.
The five-year-old took a bit of time and racing to acclimatise to Hong Kong, finishing well back at his first eight appearances with an eighth placing the highlight run.
Things looked far from promising at that stage but, if punters think back to last season, Tsui managed to do something similar with Shamal, who ultimately won five races straight.
A few starts after dropping into Class Four, Winning Supreme (Jack Wong Ho-nam) was tried on the dirt surface and seemed to take to it right away, beating quite a promising young horse in Elite Boy.
At that time, it seemed the switch of surfaces might have been the key to his turnaround but that has not been the case and Winning Supreme soon proved it.
At Happy Valley his next run, Winning Supreme was caught wide in running but still managed to win his way out of Class Four, and then he took his show to Sha Tin on the turf on February 18.
Rising to Class Three, he worked quite hard from a wide barrier draw to lead that day over the same course as today’s race and still had the race won until the final 50m.
The early effort told late and he was run down by Wishful Thinker and couple of other handy horses but that form is good enough to win Monday’s cup race.
Ignore his run since as he missed the jump over 1,000m at Happy Valley and never got into the race, and his normal start should see Winning Supreme get all the favours in the lead.
He won’t have to go as fast to get there in a smallish field and he will give his rivals something to chase under his light handicap.
It’s an odd sort of a race, with several horses having their first local start, not a lot of form from most of those with recent racing and Raging Blitzkrieg (Joao Moreira) coming back in distance.
The John Size-trained gelding still might represent the main danger – he seems to have enough speed to adjust to the 1,200m and might be stronger at the finish than he has been over the slightly longer trips.
Always Win (Victor Wong Chun) comes into it with a last start win over the distance and must be a chance again, but there will be interest in how the likes of Happy Hour (Chad Schofield), Spirit and Cerefino front up on their first day in a race lacking depth.