Blinkers make good Sense
Dollars And Sense, blinkered for the first time, can take this afternoon's 10th event on Sha Tin's bumper 11-race card.
Besides a decent win betting opportunity on the progressive Dollars And Sense, the 11-race programme sees Fairy King Prawn's crack at Japan's $13 million Yasuda Kinen simulcast live as race five on the programme and a small but select field for the Sha Tin Vase for which Charming City is almost certain to start favourite and will be very hard to beat.
But watch your bets. With the Yasuda Kinen as race five, the Triple Trio is now on races four, six and eight and not on the usual races of three, four and six. The Double Trio is also different and now operates on races six and seven.
Dollars And Sense has been consistent and improving all season for trainer David Hill who has now called for the blinkers.
Last time out Dollars And Sense was only beaten a length but the quality youngsters Meridian Star and Zietengo Boy, both of whom have come out and won and won well since. That form looks rock solid. Admittedly, Dollars And Sense did have the run of the race from his inside draw.
But against that there wasn't any loitering and he was near the speed throughout.
The big factor in his favour, though, is the first-time application of blinkers. It has taken plenty of time for the penny to drop for this son of Kaapstad whose win and placed efforts have been on raw ability alone.
He's still doing a few things wrong in a race and over-reacting to things around him. The blinkers should concentrate his mind fully on the job in hand and could well lead to considerable improvement in his race performance.
He appears to have struck a race which doesn't present such a complex handicap puzzle as the usual Sha Tin 14-runner handicap.
St Alann, the joint topweight, has good improving form too but he did finish three-quarters of a length behind Dollars And Sense when they were third and fourth in that Meridian Star/Zietengo Boy contest and he is now two pounds worse off. He remains a strong quinella hope.
Island West Treble benefited from the removal of the blinkers and a firmer track when a head second to Authorised last time out. He's another youngster who is going the right way and must be respected through the quinella and tierce pools.
However, as he couldn't beat Authorised, it is hard not to think that there won't be something to beat him here.
Indian Road works brilliantly but is another that does things wrong in his races and bled last time out. He can't be ignored due to that trackwork brilliance but is more a quinella and tierce wager rather than a win bet.
Sterling Performer didn't handle the dirt last time and prior to that didn't handle Happy Valley. But he did run a good second to Zietengo Boy in Class Four three starts ago and has always looked and worked as if capable of holding his own in Class Three.
Elsewhere, the opening griffin contest looks to be between Rebel Leader, Just In Time and Mr Basketball while Shaxi Fortune should take plenty of beating in the eighth though he's likely to be priced accordingly at the head of the market with Meridian Star.