After a slow start to his career, Deal Maker looks capable of putting a win on the board soon after a strong showing at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
The four-year-old struggled in three starts earlier this season, but he looked a different horse in his first run for new trainer Benno Yung Tin-pang.
Yung has taken his time with Deal Maker – his previous appearance at the races was on February 18 – and it looks to have paid off.
Derek Leung Ka-chun took the ride in the Class Four On Lan Handicap (1,000m) and he didn’t have much luck early, copping a bump from Beaut Beaut a stride after the gates opened, and the saddle shifted back in the early stages.
Leung told stewards that placed his horse at a disadvantage for the remainder of the race.
Despite all that, Deal Maker enjoyed a clean run in transit, sitting three-back on the rails.
But when he was starting his run in the straight, he was held up for a few strides as Ocean Roar weakened, costing him some momentum at a crucial time, eventually finishing third behind Beaut Beaut and Lucky Lucky.
Deal Maker ran his last 400m in 22.72 seconds, the third fastest final sectional of the night, and he should take plenty of improvement both in terms of fitness and experience. It would also help if the saddle didn’t slip again.
He should prove hard to beat the next time he steps out.
In the same race, the Derek Cruz-trained I’m The Conquist also showed he is edging closer to a maiden Hong Kong victory.
After jumping from barrier 10, the four-year-old was trapped three and four wide without cover throughout but was still strong on the line, finishing fourth.
That was his first run down in Class Four and he looks more than capable of making his mark at that level.
Before arriving at Sha Tin, he won four races in Ireland when known as Red Sabor over distances ranging from 1,000m to 1,200m.
He has shown 1,400m is not an option for him, but one of those wins was on the synthetic, so Cruz has options for his next start and he can be in the finish again with a bit more luck.