Bankers put tricky TT within reach
By the Triple Trio's normally imponderable standards, tomorrow's Sha Tin TT looks eminently gettable.
It will still require pulling the right rein and a fair bit of luck in running but each of the three legs which comprise the world's best exotic bet - races three, four and six - appear to have rock solid form bankers.
Winwin Combination and Full Metal Jacket stand out as potential bankers in the fourth event along with Electronic Dragon.
Winwin Combination has been improving with each run and benefited from the move to 1,400 metres last time to chase home Deuce of Hearts.
Further improvement can be expected and he should run into the placings as should Full Metal Jacket who has put in three very solid form races so far without quite getting his head in front.
Electronic Dragon did well to finish as close as he did last time as he had a tough run up on the speed.
Tomorrow's 1,400-metre trip looks to be his pet distance and he shouldn't be far away.
City Patrol appears to be coming to himself and the addition of blinkers for the first time is another pointer in his direction. It is probably also significant that leading Irish jockey Johnny Murtagh now jumps on board.
Of the others, watch out for the David Hayes-trained Fortune Tycoon.
The son of Last Tycoon is out of an okay Caerleon mare and a full brother to Fortune Tycoon. He has already won at a mile and been placed in Listed company in Australia.
Fortune Tycoon's work has certainly put him down as one to follow. He's trialled very well, showing tremendous natural speed and also plenty of strength past the post and in one gallop with Mughal Palace, who ran so encouragingly at the Valley, appeared to be going the better of the pair.
The Derek Cruz-trained Sweetheart put up a very promising performance on debut when second to The Best Winner.
He and Wylie Wong Wai-lit's improving youngster Lucky Goal could be the best bankers in the final leg to the TT, the Craigengower Cricket Club Challenge Cup.
Sweetheart had a tough run on debut when chasing a fast pace and kicking on plenty soon enough.
He had worked well prior to debut, had good form in New Zealand and appears to have done well since that run.
Lucky Goal has not stopped improving and his recent work has been the best yet.
Of the others Happy Monies should find this company easier while Straight Way had a torrid trip at the Valley last time when he showed that his turn was just around the corner.
Happy Boy has solid form claims and the blinkers applied for the first time while Perfection has gone into the notebook already this season and is not far away from a win.
Cosmo One should benefit from the drop back to 1,200 metres. He was an out-and-out sprinter back in Ireland and there's been plenty to like about his last two efforts.
My four against the field in the opening leg of the TT are Merry Maple, Piece Of Cake, Scotch Gem and Lake Titicaca.
Merry Maple has shown signs of a return to form in his most recent runs and now has stable jockey Brett Doyle on board. His trainer, Andy Leung, has his horses bursting with good health.
Piece Of Cake will probably find the mile trip on the short side but he is visored for the first time and looks an improving type. He's progressed plenty from a physical standpoint compared to last season, looking to have strengthened up.
Scotch Gem ran most promisingly on his belated reappearance, has slipped to a decent handicap mark and trainer Alex Wong Yu-on has his team going better than for many seasons.
Lake Titicaca is worth throwing in as he is apparently so well handicapped on a number of runs from last season.