Bank on 'Stars' to deliver TT goodies
By definition, special conditions races are full of out-of-sorts runners, but a couple of 'Stars' have enough recent form, and the benefit of low draws, for them to act as double bankers in the final leg of the Triple Trio at Happy Valley.
Red Lucky Star and Glenealy Star have drawn one and two respectively in an unsurprisingly thin Class Three for horses who have not won a race this season in three starts or more, and despite poor last-start efforts, the pair can be counted on to clinch a TT dividend boosted by a HK$1.7million jackpot.
Almond Lee's Red Lucky Star was a touch flat when sixth last time out after starting 4.3 second favourite in a decent quality sprint, but before that was beaten a neck as favourite over this 1,200m trip.
Brett Prebble takes over from Douglas Whyte on Red Lucky Star and, from gate one, can stay handy enough without using his horse up behind what could be a leisurely pace.
Glenealy Star was likewise a flop when a course and distance seventh a month ago, but had gone agonisingly close in his two previous efforts.
Zac Purton replaces Alvin Ng Ka-chun, which adds some weight but, from gate two, he should be able to utilise his mount's surprising gate speed and possibly lead, or box seat at the very least.
Had Forever Elation (Tye Angland) drawn a barrier, he would be close to favourite but, from gate 10, Angland will have his work cut out. Another drawn wide (12) is Shahjee (Mark Zahra), whose solid 1 1/2-length second behind Sterling City at Sha Tin is perhaps the best last-start form reference here.
Include Danny Shum Chap-shing's Turf Magic (Weichong Marwing) after some honest, if a little one-paced, run-on efforts of late.
Getting through the opening leg, a Class Four over 1,200m, will be the toughest part and Flashing Guy gets the nod as a banker as he drops back in grade.
Both the five-year-old's wins have been in this grade at Happy Valley, and jumping from five with Prebble aboard, he should get a kinder run than the nightmare trip he got last start at Sha Tin.
Flashing Guy stayed on well for fifth after he was trapped three-deep on the speed, and while his efforts before that weren't much to get excited about, a drop in grade will make him competitive.
Longwah Kid (Marwing) has been given an unorthodox preparation for this race - last month during a 17-day stretch he was trialled twice and only swum in between. From gate one he could be set to run a race.
Make It (Derek Leung Ka-chun) comes from the notoriously unreliable yard of Andy Leung Ting-wah but, from barrier three, he is the type of horse that could ruin a TT ticket and must be included.
Fair Navigator (Willie Pike) is lightly raced because of his bleeding issues, but he drops back in grade from a nice draw (four). Throw him in despite being unproven on the surface, and also consider Serendipity (Purton), after he hit the line well last start.
The middle leg is the strongest race as far as in-form chances go, over the longest trip at the city track over 2,200m.
It's hard to narrow it down to a banker, but Dennis Yip Chor-hong's Industrial Legend (Purton) is having a great season and is the likely favourite.
Telecom Supremo (Olivier Doleuze) was forced to make three runs when favourite over 1,800m last time out in a brave runner-up performance, so stepping up to the distance for the first time shouldn't be a problem.
Eastern Empire (Tye Angland) was a real eye-catcher when third in the same race and could be the value win bet after drawing two.
Victory Mascot (Prebble) has a course and distance record that can't be ignored - three of his five Valley wins have been over this journey.