Rispoli’s Companion

Good Companion held on for victory at Happy Valley last start and Derek Cruz’s honest gelding will attempt to back-up in the Fortress Hill Handicap (1200m) at Happy Valley on Thursday night - his first foray into Class 3.

Cruz, with only 26 horses in his stable, has two wins to his credit so far this term. Last time out, the handler turned to Poon but with that rider booked for his boss David Hall’s Mr Picasso (118lb), Umberto Rispoli will take the reins on the Exceed And Excel gelding.

“He’s going up in class, he’s got a light weight (113lb) and he’s a horse that’s very easy to ride, but he’s going to need some luck from that gate (nine),” the Italian said.

“He’s a tough horse - every time he runs he’s always there but it’s his first time in Class 3 so it won’t be easy.”

The field of 12 also includes Back In Black (127lb), now on a mark 7lb below his latest win, at the course and distance back in May, 2016; and Travel Datuk (120lb), a running-on second to Super Leader at the track and trip two weeks ago.

Thursday’s card commences at 7.15pm with the Class 5 Shau Kei Wan Handicap (1650m).