Ideal barrier is the key for Grand Elite
A low draw for the Caspar Fownes-trained Grand Elite can help the three-year-old break his maiden status, and punters can look to him as a banker to help find a monster Triple Trio.
The TT jackpot jumps to a healthy HK$8.8 million tomorrow, with officials estimating a HK$13 million payout, and Grand Elite can kick things off by providing the safe pick in the opening leg.
An impressive runner-up effort on his Happy Valley debut last start showed the city track will suit Grand Elite, who was taken back from a wide gate but chimed in late with a strong run, only to be pipped by Diligent III.
The winner had got critical cover and a pull into the race from Grand Elite, who drops from gate eight to four, from where jockey Zac Purton, hungry after returning from a two-meeting suspension for his ride in that race, can find a more prominent position in the opening stages of the 1,650m Class Four.
His form might read like a back marker's, but Grand Elite's running position in his seven starts has been largely determined by barrier draw.
At his first three starts, he drew 11 and then the extreme outside (14) twice more at Sha Tin, and was positioned near the tail each time.
In his fourth start over 1,400m, he drew one, and Gerald Mosse fired the gelding along the rails to sit in just behind the pace, about three lengths off the lead. From there he loomed like the winner, only to be nailed by swooper Super Horse.
Purton should be able to get a one-off spot and cover, not to far off a better-than-average tempo set by Fortune Bravo (Tye Angland, gate nine) and Ray's Favourite (Douglas Whyte, 11), who has blinkers back on and will try and cross the field from his wide draw. Include the front-runners too, along with the well-drawn Juggernaut (Mark du Plessis, three), who will be handily placed and wasn't treated too harshly for his last-start course and distance win.
With the first leg out of the way, look to Me Tsui Yu-sak's handy-looking sprinter Gold Edition (Howard Cheng Yue-tin) as a banker in the middle pin.
The only concern is a glut of on-pace runners in the 1,000m Class Three - expect a frantically-run race - with Hawthorne, Amedeo, Lucky Red all liking to race forward, and perpetual pest Loads OF Joy is always a chance of getting on the bit and pouring even more pressure into the contest.
Gold Edition has either led or sat second in his five starts, but hopefully from barrier three, Cheng can get the three-year-old to the rail and find his own rhythm regardless of the mayhem around him.
Drawing gate four also gives Lucky Red (Eddie Lai Wai-ming) a chance.
Two horses racing off the speed should benefit from fast sectionals up front - Pocket Rockets (Whyte) and last-start winner Merry Anniversary (Weichong Marwing).
The final leg is the toughest to sort through. Glenealy Star (Alvin Ng Ka-chun) is the obvious pick in the Class Three (1,200m) after two runner-up efforts, but he has a few factors against him.
Ng's claim has dropped from 10 pounds to seven since his last start and his rating has crept up to 77, leaving him the top rated horse in this race and carrying 126 pounds, a jump of eight pounds.
From gate four he still goes in as a banker, with Red Lucky Star (Whyte) from gate one a place chance, along with Friends Of Yan Oi (Olivier Doleuze) and Perfect Gear (Jacky Tong Chi-kit).
Is the estimated payout for a $10 ticket for tomorrow night's Triple Trio at the city course