Common Goal is no stranger to the dirt
When highly sought-after stable transfer Common Goal landed in the yard of Manfred Man Ka-leung, the plan was always to head to the all-weather track for a first-up, Class Four kill.
In the end, Man's handy acquisition did the job on the turf after being balloted out of a dirt race, but the talented grey can act as a banker in the final leg of another monster Triple Trio, boosted by a HK$26 million jackpot, when he heads back to the inner circuit on Sunday.
Common Goal came to Man from Andy Leung Ting-wah winless in 18 starts, but the feeling was the five-year-old had fallen well below his best in the ratings. A couple of trials, including one particularly eye-catching effort on the all-weather track in blinkers, put the writing on the wall for what would ultimately be a comfortable win.
Brett Prebble rode the horse in both trials and in the win over 1,400m a month ago, skirting wide on a track which soaked up a massive amount of rain.
Up in grade and distance, to Class Three over 1,650m, Prebble will navigate from gate seven against a field which contains a number of course specialists, but drops away sharply.
A strong course and distance effort for Leung four starts back showed Common Goal revels on this surface, as did his great trial on the track.
Leo's Pride (Olivier Doleuze) hadn't raced on the all-weather until the end of last term, but a third placing then was a glimpse of what was to come for the, up until then, under-achiever.
The Francis Lui Kin-wai-trained seven-year-old has been a revelation on the dirt since, winning three and placing twice in six starts.
Douglas Whyte retains the ride on Jolly Good, whose last-start win took his overall record on the track to three wins from nine starts. A wide draw (10) doesn't help, but he should have some impact.
Chater D'Cat (Terry Wong Chi-wai) has good stats over this course and has drawn one, enough for him to force his way into the selections.
Other options, but untried on the track, are Craig's Pride (Derek Leung Ka-chun) and Supreme Genki (Matthew Chadwick).
Getting through the Class Five (1,600m) first leg might be the most difficult part of snaring an estimated HK$38 million dividend - and be the race to play wide. John Moore's Thanksgiving (Brett Prebble) shouldn't be in the cellar division for too long, judging by his two runs in the trade.
He is the banker, if necessary, while Danesouth (Leung) also goes in. He has run down the track after drawing wide at his last two starts after winning back-to--back in the grade, but this time drops back to gate three.
Others to consider are M's Magic (Zac Purton), Treasure Glitter (Doleuze) and Sammy's Fortune (Chadwick).
The middle pin will see punters weighing up Why Not's plodding, one-paced effort as odds-on favourite over 1,400m last start and deciding whether to count on him as a banker.
Whyte has stuck solid with the three-year-old, he has drawn gate two and the step up to a mile appeals. He was making ground late last time out, enough to suggest he can act as a banker.
Others to include are Fortune Bravo (Andreas Suborics), Scent Of Osmanthus (Mark du Plessis) and Breeze Of Luck (Prebble).