Updated: Sep 4
I thought that I had identified everything to note from the Barrier Trials run at Conghua in August but there was one horse to catch my eye on the last day of the month. With so many horses shipping into Hong Kong from all over the world, it can be hard to sort through those who will hit the ground running and those who will need time. The horse in this piece looks likely to fit into the former category. Cheerful World has been in Hong Kong since February and has been in training with F C Lor since early March. I have come across this horse before when he was 6th and 3rd respectively in a pair of Barrier Trials at Sha Tin earlier in the summer. He looked raw in those trial races but there was some potential on show and just 3-months later, he looks much closer to the finished article.
He is a 4-year-old son of Proisir and a half-brother to the 4 times Hong Kong winner Fairy Floss (Paul O’Sullivan) who will make his Hong Kong debut on a mark of 52, which on the evidence of this Barrier Trial win may well leave him with something in hand. Having broken smartly from the gate, he soon led and pulled readily clear in the closing stages under a motionless Zulkifli Zuriman. The horses in behind him are rated in the mid-40s so there is some caution needed with the form, but he recorded a final time of 47.10s for the 800-meters, which was just 0.07s slower than the Barrier trial won by the 79-rated California Deeply. In fairness, California Deeply was niggled along and looked to be carrying a fair amount of condition, but the fact he at least matched what looked to a stronger Barrier trial does bode well. Horses with a profile like his are difficult to weigh up and when he makes his debut, we will no doubt learn a lot more about him. For now, the handicapper and the punter are on a level playing field but based on this evidence, a mark of 52 would look very appealing when he makes his first start.