Saffron can spice up TT finale

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 July, 2012, 12:00am


Peri Peri Saffron has given the impression of a horse looking for more ground and the four-year-old gets it and with a much-needed low draw in the opening leg of the season-ending Triple Trio at Sha Tin on Sunday.

Peter Ho Leung has shown patience with his four-year-old and has picked out an ideal Class Four over 1,400m, where he will jump from gate two.

Douglas Whyte, injury permitting, rides the horse for the first time, with in-form Derek Leung Ka-chun on standby if the Durban Demon cannot fulfil his obligations.

All of Peri Peri Saffron's starts have been over 1,200m at Sha Tin, with the gelding displaying above-average ability.

On debut, the son of Handsome Randsom raced greenly, with a tendency to come on and off the bit, and showed below-average early speed before moving to the line well. But it was his second start and a run-on second behind the ill-fated Can Do that really announced the horse as a future winner.

The horse's negative attributes haven't disappeared entirely, but have rather been smoothed out and aided by a mid-season lay-off, and he now seems ready for the step up in distance.

At his last two starts, Peri Peri Saffron has started from gates 11 and 13, and has had to be ridden for luck, of which he hasn't had much.

From gate two, Whyte should get a race with suitable sectionals to run home off - Lucky Nistelrooy (James McDonald) and Matsukaze (Alex Lai Hoi-wing) both go forward and should ensure genuine tempo.

Throw in Luck Nistelrooy, along with All Bountiful (Willie Pike), Grand Champion (Tye Angland) and Lucky Chevalier (Zac Purton).

The TT features an HK$8 million-plus jackpot, and Indigo Way seems a safe standout in the final leg, a competitive Class Three over 1,800m.

Indigo Way (Angland) has never started better than 100-1 on the Sha Tin turf, but they were all early in his career and before Manfred Man Ka-leung stepped the horse up to 1,800m and switched to Happy Valley. The four-year-old's form took a turn and he has put together a string of five straight top-four efforts, including a win and two seconds over 1,800m and beyond.

In particular, Indigo Way's last run caught the eye as he was narrowly beaten by Banksters Bonus. With barrier five, ignore Indigo Way's lacklustre Sha Tin statistics and plug him in as a banker.

Real Generous (Eddie Lai Wai-ming) meets with solid support every time he goes around, and has justified it to some degree with some eye-catching efforts.

Since winning back-to-back Class Four miles at Sha Tin, Dennis Yip Chor-hong's promising four-year-old has drawn 13, 12, 11 and 10 at his last four starts. Three of those contests have been over this trip and the last-start sixth was better than it looks on paper as he was steaming home, only to be crowded for room late.

Others to consider are Liberty Valance (Whyte), Danzulu (Terry Wong Chi-wai) and Nicholson (Tim Clark).

In the middle pin, John Moore's Thanksgiving (Clark) has again drawn perfectly. He has now drawn two, three, one and one at his last four starts - the last two of those carbon copy, sit and sprint wins.

A drop into Class Five helped Thanksgiving find a winning groove and last start he kept the momentum with a light weight in Class Four. The way the three-year-old was able to get to the line for an easy victory indicated he would be back for more, and gate two provides the chance for three on the bounce, despite a considerable eight-point ratings rise.

Thanksgiving is the best prospect for a banker, but look out for Super Horse (Whyte), who meets his last-start conqueror eight pounds better at the weights.

Pike gambled to go forward from gate 10, but this time Whyte should settle into the horse's natural style from barrier seven in a race with plenty of speed.

Winning Mascot (Alvin Ng Ka-chun), Istide (Matthew Chadwick) and Telecom Supremo (Alex Lai Hoi-wing) could all go forward and all have claims. Include Glory Of India (Mark du Plessis), who will be hard and fit for his recent racing over further.