Oughton eyes Cup
IF you're still in tomorrow's Triple Trio come the third and final leg - the feature Lusitano Challenge Cup - there's one horse and one horse only to have on your side, the David Oughton-trained Emphasis. Emphasis won going away over a mile on only his second start last time out, having earlier shaped with plenty of promise over an inadequate 1,400 metres when in need of the experience. Tomorrow's 2,000-metre trip is what he is bred for and what he requires to start to show something like his full potential. In time he is going to be seen to maximum effect over 2,400 metres but 2,000 metres will do for the time being. He is out of a dam by the useful Shernazar and the dam herself won over the best part of 2,400 metres and represents one of the Aga Khan's best staying bloodlines.
And he is by the Aga's 1988 English Derby winner Kahyasi who was ridden by Ray Cochrane while Lester Piggott watched from prison. Cochrane had somehow managed to contact Piggott in clink in order to ask the great jockey for his advice on riding tactics. 'Thanks Lester,' were Cochrane's famous words at the post-Derby press conference. Kahyasi then progressed to win the Irish Derby and there is little doubt that his son, Emphasis, is going to be winning many more and many better races than tomorrow's Class Three event in which he can compete from a handicap rating of 59. Now is the time to catch him and in Triple Trio bets he is a standout banker. The obvious form danger is the improving Citiluck who will benefit from the 2,000-metre trip. He only defeated Helene Treasure in the very last bound last time but Helene Treasure has franked the form by winning since.
Encore shapes as if he will stay this trip and should now be cherry ripe. He won a modest contest last time when probably in need of the outing and he's another good ride for the popular South African ace Felix Coetzee who is much in demand and riding better than he's ever done here. John Moore is shrewd at the best of times but even shrewder when it comes to making use of the top apprentices. He's a big fan of Peter Ho and hasn't taken long to latch on to the value that James Chan bestows on his mounts by taking seven pounds off their backs. Chan is a significant booking for Certeza who will appreciate the move up in distance and would be a very appropriate winner as the owner's wife will present the Lusitano Cup.
That's the easy part. The third event, the opening leg of the Triple Trio is much more difficult and the fourth race is pretty tough, too. Partner is back to his ideal course and distance of 1,400 metres at Sha Tin in the third and will be hard to keep out of the placings. The big improver is likely to be David Hill's Don Pedro. He ran well for a long way last time when still in need of the outing. Others to consider are Golden Rule, who has thrived since joining Alex Wong Siu-tan's very much in-form stable, Plenty Cash who is working extremely well, American Eagle who was given too much to do from his outside barrier last time, and Jay Ee Eight who is fitter and working better than at any time this season.
Going down the card in the fourth, Jewellery Star remains in top shape at the track and should go well for Vickie Choi who is a much better rider than is generally appreciated. Kay Hsing ran a cracker over a mile last time but just didn't stay. He will be ideally suited by this 1,400 metres as will Gold Yue Yee who also didn't stay the mile last time. Zambezi didn't have much luck last time and will find this easier but he is a free-going type in the mornings and while he's good, he may be flattered to a degree by his work. In the fifth event, the second leg of the Double Trio which opens with the fourth race, it is impossible to oppose Kenzig. He looks a nailed-on good thing. Trust me.