Health and wealthy after Classic Cup
Regulars of this page should have got away with a nice result in the HK Classic Cup on Sunday when our joint top-rated horse of his HK generation, Healthy Happy, arrived at better than 20-1.
The winner of the first 4yo series race, Excellent Proposal was also over 20-1 and this group heads to the Derby without a real standout.
Three lengths covered the first 9 finishers, there were several unlucky runners so chances of the form standing up perfectly in the "grand final" look slim. Like the Classic Mile, decided by strong pace, the Classic Cup result was tempo-related, this time Alexis Badel nicking the race from the front in a slow speed.
As for Derby movers, Russian Emperor got blinkers from trainer Douglas Whyte in the Classic Cup, after two dreadful efforts in HK, and the gear worked, the Hampton Court Stakes winner getting home well for a close second. His figure of 88 on Sunday won't be enough but, as you see on our table, he has scope to the mid-90s from his UK form and that is right in the Derby-winning zone.
There were other potential Derby pointers in the week, even if these horses face a task to qualify.
Charity Fun (ex Pontchateau) won a 2200m Class 3 at Happy Valley by a space, with trainer Danny Shum now eyeing the Derby. The win left Charity Fun on a handicap rating of 78 and he will need a late entry for the race as well, so there is more to do before he even lines up.
Savaquin, from the John Size yard, rated higher on the same card winning over 1650m. He does have a Derby entry, but is also on a mark of only 80 with the HKJC.
And, on Sunday, Healthy Happy's stablemate Flagship Glory finished runner-up in the last with a performance that puts him in the right ball park but, although he is entered, he is even worse off with an official mark of 77.
Like Charity Fun and Savaquin, he would need to win a race - and win it very well - to even make the Derby field.