The world's best sprinter Lucky Sweynesse has already been beaten twice this season, but regular rider Zac Purton is confident the champ has turned the corner.
Beaten at short odds in the two starts to begin this preparation, Lucky Sweynesse didn't quite dazzle racing fans as they might have expected.
However, his three performances in the lead-up to the Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin have held more merit than it first appears, and jockey Zac Purton is confident that the five-year-old can edge closer to his best on Sunday.
"He ran first-up on a wet track and he doesn't like wet tracks," Purton said.
"The previous worst run in his career was at Happy Valley on a wet track.
"At this level all horses can sprint home quite quickly, so if you are giving a little bit of weight away and a little bit of a start, it's always going to be hard."
Lucky Sweynesse did just enough to score last start in the Group 2 Jockey Club Sprint (1200m) on November 19, and while he failed to dominate his rivals, Purton feels he has made plenty of improvement since.
"He got the job done last start, not in his usual wow fashion and to the eye it probably didn't look that impressive, but I feel like he's improved since then," Purton said.
"His gallop on Monday was incredible, his gallop again on Thursday morning was really good.
"His coat has really turned, he's glowing, he's starting to get those same mannerisms back that he had last season when he was reeling off all those wins.
That presents a frightening proposition for his rivals on Sunday, because if Lucky Sweynesse swtiches to 'full beast mode', his oppostion including the likes of last year's winner, Wellington, will have the task ahead of them.
Purton stopped short of confirming that Lucky Sweynesse will return to his elite best on Sunday, but hinted that he wasn't far off.
Drawn perfectly in barrier five, Purton should get every possible chance to atone for his sixth placing in this international sprint feature twelve months ago.
Purton currently boasts the most wins of any jockey during the HKIR carnival and has already won the sprint twice aboard Aerovelocity in 2014 and 2016.