Thou Shall Sing has shown promise at the trials and that is yet to translate into a victory on race day, but he gets his chance to break through in the Class Four Deauville August Yearling Sales Handicap (1,000m) at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
The Chris So Wai-yin-trained three-year-old jumped as a $2.80 favourite when he made his debut down the Sha Tin straight in January – all off the back of four impressive trials.
He finished second that day, a neck behind Lucky Volatility, and was a touch unlucky in that he was held up at a crucial time when trapped between runners.
At his second start, Thou Shall Sing blew his chances at the start, jumping awkwardly and putting him lengths behind his rivals. He had to be used up in the middle stages to make up the ground, but that effort told at the end when finishing fifth to Tony Millard’s boom youngster Refined Treasure.
The trainer then backed off, giving him three trials to tune up for his first race in three months. In the most recent of those showed he could handle the tight Valley circuit when finishing second to Class Three sprinter Extremely Fun.
That preparation, the benefit of his two earlier runs, along with his natural ability, put him in a position to land his maiden victory.
Jockey Vincent Ho Chak-yiu should be able to find a nice position from barrier four and give Thou Shall Sing his opportunity in the straight.
The biggest dangers look to be Dashing Gainer (Zac Purton), who is also edging closer to a win, Peace Combination (Chad Schofield) and Lucky Lucky (Joao Moreira).
Another three-year-old chasing his first Hong Kong victory is the John Size-trained Gunnison, who steps out in the Class Two France Galop Cup (1,200m).
The Australian import – a Group Two winner in Sydney before making the move north – put the writing on the wall last start and finds a suitable race here.
The form guide says he finished fourth to Jumbo Luck last start, but he should have come second as he was held up 250m from home before hitting the line hard.
Gunnison steps up to 1,200m here – the distance of that feature win at Randwick – and has trialled at the track on three occasions, winning two of them, so we know he will handle the track.
In his trials, he has shown an ability to lead, so he has the tactical versatility to adjust to the circumstances of the race.
Moreira jumps back aboard for this contest and should have plenty of options from barrier four.
Completing the hat-trick of three-year-olds who can salute on Wednesday night is Victory Power, who just needs a little luck to notch his first victory in the Class Four French Racing & Breeding Committee Handicap (1,200m).
Richard Gibson’s gelding probably should have won last time out when he was blocked for a run at the top of the straight before switching across heels, balancing up and storming home late to finish second to Zero Hedge.
Chad Schofield will have to overcome a tricky barrier after coming up with 11, but the progression he has shown in his first two starts suggests he has the ability to do that.