Francis Lui Kin-wai’s Valiant Dream will have a second attempt at racing with the in-form speedster returning to the track after being wrongly treated and subsequently scratched last week.
The four-year-old competes in Saturday’s Class Three Tai Yau Handicap (1,200m) at Sha Tin after Lui was forced to cop a HK$20,000 fine following an inadvertent treatment from one of his stablehands.
Stewards found that while Valiant Dream’s accidental treatment came from one of his staff, the veteran trainer was ultimately responsible for the mishap.
With the issue now behind him, Lui said he was confident his improving galloper could respond in style.
“The other day, there was a mishap with the stablehand, they made a mistake but he has come through all fine, he is racing well,” he said.
Having finished no worse than second in his last four starts, which has included two wins, Lui thinks Valiant Dream has enjoyed a different training regime this term.
“I think it is different this season for him,” he said. “Before he works now, they put him in the machine on a slow walk and I think it has been a big help to him.”
With Blake Shinn again booked to ride, Valiant Dream will jump from barrier one and he comes up against rivals Ballistic King, Good Beauty, Star Luck and Fantasy.
Shinn has seven rides on Saturday as his support continues to increase in Hong Kong following the departures of Silvestre de Sousa, Alexis Badel, Umberto Rispoli and Alberto Sanna in recent months.
Ironically, Ka Ying Legend will also return to racing in the contest after he returned a positive pre-race sample a fortnight ago.
The Benno Yung Tin-pang-trained galloper initially tested positive to clenbuterol but was later cleared after his second sample returned negative, leaving stewards to investigate the source of the exposure after it was established he was not being treated with any product containing the banned substance.
As a result, Yung escaped with no penalty and Ka Ying Star is free to race.
After arriving in Hong Kong with a rating of 80 in 2018, Ka Ying Legend is yet to win in his 13 starts. He came as a five-year-old from Argentina, where he was a Group Three winner as a two-year-old.
Tony Cruz will debut his French import Transcendent, who boasts winning form at Saint-Cloud, Compiegne, Chantilly and Lingfield, in the same race.
While his best form is on synthetic surfaces in Europe, the former Fabrice Chappet-trained four-year-old has Group Three form on the grass.
Racing in the same colours as superstar stayer Exultant, Zac Purton will ride from barrier 12 after he won a barrier trial last week.
Saturday’s Sha Tin meeting also marks the return of Brazilian sensation Vagner Borges.
The 26-year-old raced in Hong Kong for two weeks at the end of the 2018-19 season and impressed many despite not landing a winner.
After arriving in Hong Kong on Wednesday night, Borges has secured eight rides, including Dark Dream in the Class One Lung Cheung Handicap (1,600m).