The Peter Ho Leung-trained Split Of A Second has been edging closer to a win and he gets his chance to make that happen at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
The four-year-old has had five career starts and apart from his debut effort when he dropped out, he has been right around the mark.
The gelding put the writing on the wall last start, coming from well back and rattling home for second, beaten a half-length by Clear Choice and now gets the opportunity to go one better in the first section of the Class Four Dorset Handicap (1,200m).
There should be enough pace in the race with regular front-runners Nice Fandango (Jack Wong Ho-nam) and the in-form Bingo (Joao Moreira) engaged, while Master Viking (Victor Wong Chun) and Supreme Witness (Alberto Sanna) could also push forward.
That should allow Matthew Poon Ming-fai to slot in about midfield or a touch worse from barrier seven, before pulling out at the top of the straight and running over the top of his rivals.
The biggest danger could be David Ferraris’ Call Me Awesome (Zac Purton), who hasn’t been far away in his three starts since dropping back to Class Four.
He should get a lovely run just behind the speed from the inside gate and only needs some luck to be in the finish.
Another horse knocking on the door of his first Hong Kong victory is Master Albert.
The Chris So Wai-ying four-year-old has been costly for punters, placing in five of his 10 starts since arriving from Australia while starting $4.80 or shorter in seven of them.
He has run home strongly in his past two starts over the Valley’s 1,200m circuit and should be able to do it again in the Class Three Norfolk Handicap.
Umberto Rispoli is likely to drop back from barrier 10, trying to find some cover before producing the gelding in the straight.
The race lacks a bit of depth, giving him Master Albert a golden opportunity to add a third victory to his résumé after going undefeated at his two starts in Victoria.
Only one runner placed in their most recent run and that is Manfred Man Ka-leung’s Everbrave, who caught the eye when second to Fortune Bo Bo last month.
The four-year-old has taken a little bit of time to acclimatise to life in Hong Kong, but his last effort was his best so far and his form looks to be on an upwards swing.
Jumping from the outside gate, Chad Schofield could be following Master Albert before throwing down the gauntlet in the straight.
One runner who creates some interest is Fox Sunter (Vincent Ho Chak-yiu) in the second section of the Dorset Handicap (1,200m), who hasn’t been to the races since winning at the opening Happy Valley meeting of the season.
That was an impressive performance, starting as a $1.80 favourite and beating Phantom Falcon and Starlight, but it came at a cost as he bled from both nostrils after racing.
Francis Lui Kin-wai’s five-year-old still looks to have some upside, but it might take a run or two to get back to full fitness after going eight months between starts.
He looked good when untested in a trial at the city track a month ago and it is worth keeping an eye on how he performs in this comeback.