Ray's Favourite has right credentials
There is no jackpot for tomorrow night's Happy Valley Triple Trio, but there is still a HK$2 million dividend pool to tackle and Douglas Whyte looks a vital part of any assault.
Whyte's mount in the opening leg, Ray's Favourite, looks the anchor for all Triple Trio game plans, with the Peter Ng Bik-kuen trained gelding one of the finds in the lower grades this season. In nine starts , Ray's Favourite has won three and finished second four times, all of those outings over this Valley 1,650m.
Ng has stuck with a winning plan and Ray's Favourite looks ready to turn around his last three second placings with the benefit of a good draw.
The gelding has drawn wide in his last two runs and still run boldly, perhaps even unlucky to be beaten by Grand Elite last time when held up rounding the home turn as he waited for the winner to go full throttle.
He should be well placed throughout tomorrow night, an important factor with what looks just an average pace in the race.
His main danger could be the other revelation this term, the Richard Gibson-trained Easy Gold (Olivier Doleuze), who is awkwardly drawn but still has to go in TT wagers for the sake of his consistency.
Maiden runner Good Hong Kong (Zac Purton) is getting to the stage where he needs to replace reputation with something more concrete, but he has been placed at four of six runs and arguably his best effort was his debut run at the Valley so he may be better suited here than Sha Tin. Blossom Daily and Yuan's Fortune also look must-includes.
But the first leg is where it stops being easy. A strong pace looks assured in the wide-open middle leg and that could help out the likes of Merry Anniversary (Weichong Marwing), Smart Kids (Terry Wong Chi-wai) and Pocket Money (Whyte), who will be running on late and it might just be the right recipe for another Ng galloper, Benefactor (Tim Clark).
Benefactor has terrific early speed which will allow him to be closer than the other three , but it wouldn't surprise from a good draw if Clark elected to take a trail rather than contest the front, as Benefactor did when fifth over 1,200m last start in a run that was much better than it appears on paper.
Mr Award (Ben So Tik-hung) is another to be strongly considered backing up from last Wednesday when he had to be used up over 1,200m and weakened, and Green Zone (Brett Prebble) is racing well on the dirt but has shown good Valley form in the past, too.
Once again the final leg looks well run, with Vintage Hussler, Loads Of Joy and Lucky Turbo engaged and that will suit Whyte's mount, Simple, and the other banker types in another open race, Lucky Record (Andreas Suborics) and Sunny Fay (Mark Zahra).
That question of never having been to the Valley, along with a wide draw, might scare a few players off Simple, but everything about his racing at Sha Tin has suggested the Valley will suit. He wants pace on, which he will get and the draw will allow Whyte to ride the grey quietly, as he did winning on him twice at Sha Tin from wider gates.
While Sunny Fay's record reads unplaced at five runs at the city course, he drew barriers 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12, and still caught the eye getting home just behind the placegetters. He might be a better proposition from barrier four, railing up behind the speed instead of swinging wide.
Lucky Record is right there among the winning chances and players should also include Master Rio, Palepale, David Hall's newcomer Jun Ju, and Silver Osmanthus, who caught the eye over 1,000m first time out and is better suited to 1,200m.