Leung duo can deliver good tidings
Local trainer Andy Leung Ting-wah can play Santa Claus to punters on this afternoon's Sha Tin card where he looks to have a couple of Christmas crackers.
Leung's Cool Strike is a confident choice in the second event and his Chuk Way should take plenty of beating in the eighth on what promises to be a good day's punting.
The key to Cool Strike is the first-time application of blinkers. He hit the line like a Class Three horse when sporting them in a recent trial down the straight 1,000-metre chute.
His last-start effort was also good as he had a torrid time up on a fast pace and still battled on to run third to Canadian Champ and Flying Tiger. Both these came from off the pace, underlining the strong tempo that was set and how well Cool Strike, without blinkers, performed to keep going for third.
There is unlikely to be such a strong pace this time round as only Swifty-Swifty will take on Cool Strike for the front-runner's spot.
It is also possible that Leung's smart stable jockey, Englishman Brett Doyle, will give Cool Strike more time to settle into his race this afternoon.
He came from off the pace to hit the line with tremendous power and depth in his trial and maybe a slight change in tactics will be employed to Cool Strike's benefit.
Cool Strike also looks to have struck an uncompetitive event and the Sha Tin 1,400 metres is almost certainly his ideal course and distance.
The decidedly enigmatic Super Star could be a good value quinella selection with Cool Strike.
He appears to have gone much better over the last couple of weeks for his new trainer Peter Chapple-Hyam and should be at decent odds.
Chapple-Hyam has him looking really well in himself. The trip is a bit on the short side for him but it could pay dividends to throw him in - providing he's at decent odds.
Handsome Baron is a danger as he ran much better last time on the dirt, trainer John Moore is going better than for a number of seasons and the apprentice C. T. Cheng is good value for his seven-pound claim.
Great Honour and Swifty-Swifty may be best of the others, especially the latter as he could get a cosy run on the speed.
Chuk Way ran much better than it looked when keeping on for fifth over an inadequate 1,150 metres on the dirt last time as his effort came on a night when there was arguably a profound bias to those racing on the speed.
He had to come from way off the pace and he might just be a shade of odds this afternoon.
He also fits into one of Leung's most reliable training patterns.
The talented local trainer has struck a number of times with his younger horses when they have been able to take a voluntary demotion from Class Four to Class Five.
Chuk Way looks to be a classic example. The son of Zephyr Zip has always worked as if more than capable of scoring in Class Five.
Canadian Champ, brought to a standstill by interference in the home straight last time, and representing table-topping trainer Moore and his riding counterpart Robbie Fradd is going to be all the rage from barrier one in this contest. He is a strong chance.
But Sky Protector could add value to the tierce from the bottom of the handicap. The Sha Tin 1,400 metres is probably his best trip.
Elsewhere, it would be no surprise to see Giant Fight, blinkered for the first time, return to a semblance of his old form in the ninth event.
Conversely, taking the blinkers off New Trumps should help him in the last where the move up to a mile is also in his favour.