Dapper Boy looking smart as TT banker
Brett Prebble can continue his purple patch of form and his deadly combination with David Hall on Dapper Boy, a youngster who stands out as a banker in the middle pin of Sunday's Triple Trio at Sha Tin.
Prebble has ridden 15 winners in the past five weeks, finishing a season punctuated by injury with a determined burst as he consolidates second place in the jockeys' championship ahead of Zac Purton.
Even more astounding for Prebble are his stats with his good friend Hall, the pair teaming up for five wins from their last 11 runners, and uniting for 11 victories in total.
Three-year-old Dapper Boy has been brought along steadily by Hall and seems ready to break through from a low draw (four) at his third start in the Beas River Country Club Handicap (1,200m).
Prebble replaces Weichong Marwing, who was forced to go back from his outside draw at his last start, but ended up finding a decent rails run through and finishing second as 3.1 favourite behind Joyful Luck.
It seems there is still some improvement left for the still-green galloper. Despite running on, he didn't quite find his rhythm late in the contest and will be better for the experience of going around a turn under race conditions.
Prebble rode the New Zealand-bred gelding on debut over 1,000m, where he showed surprising speed and stuck on gamely for third - in a race that produced several subsequent winners - despite the disadvantage of being stranded in the middle of the straight course.
This time from a decent draw, Prebble can use the horse's natural speed to have him positioned one off the fence and midfield, from where he can launch an attack.
The biggest threat to Hall's galloper, and a decent double banker option for a tight ticket, is the John Size-trained first-starter All Bountiful (Douglas Whyte).
Four typically quiet trials revealed All Bountiful as a talented individual with good gate speed, who will be aided immensely by an inside draw (two), just as stablemate Tour De Force was when he won his debut on Wednesday. In a race that falls away in quality quickly, include Peri Peri Saffron (Ben So Tik-hung), Silver Dragon (Tye Angland) and Perfect Hedge (Mark du Plessis).
The 2,000m opening leg provides many of the Class Four runners their first opportunity over ground, but a horse coming back in trip looms as the stand out.
The Sean Woods-trained Kensworth Kid (Whyte) is still down on 122 pounds after a run-on third over 2,200m at his last start. Gate three from the tricky starting point is a bonus for a horse adaptable enough for Whyte to position where he wants in the run.
Others to consider are Glory Of India (Du Plessis), Connoisseur's Pick (Derek Leung Ka-chun) and Sure Champ (Willie Pike).
The speed map will be critical for the final leg, a Class Three over 1,200m, particularly in sorting out the chances of gigantic galloper Dr Super (Angland), who jumps from gate 12.
If the 1,300-pound three-year-old gets his own way in front he is almost impossible to beat, but finding the rail, or any peace, might be difficult in a race containing some speedy types.
Expect 1,000m specialist Ultimate Winners to kick up on his inside and for Prolific Champion to also boot forward. That could mean Dr Super being stranded wide and with little chance of finding his all-important rhythm.
Whyte jumps from outside Dr Super on Highland Dragon, another talented three-year-old who would have stronger claims with a decent barrier.
Finding a banker is difficult, but perhaps Richard Gibson's Racing Reward (Olivier Doleuze) deserves another chance after pulling up lame with mucus issues in April.
Sunny Fay (Prebble), Highland Dragon and Prolific Champion (Matthew Chadwick) are options.