Follow Lane's Leader
Rebel Leader can take advantage of an apparently lenient handicap rating and make a winning debut in open company in this afternoon's eighth event at Sha Tin on the final day of the season.
The campaign's finale is given an added piquancy by an enticing $30 million Triple Trio jackpot and with no more TTs until early September the jackpot seems set to exert even more leverage than usual and lead to a final pool of upwards of $100 million.
It is most definitely worth a throw at the stumps as nearly every jackpot brings its fairytale stories of smaller punters, with modest outlays, becoming overnight millionaires courtesy of the world's best bet.
But for those looking for a more specific win wager, Rebel Leader is set to give a very good account of himself from a mark of 67 in Class Three in the eighth in what promises to be a strongly run race and bring his stamina to the fore.
Trainer Geoff Lane has brought along the son of Ezzoud in typically patient fashion. He needed his debut effort when making good late ground and then improved markedly to run a highly creditable third to Millennium Supreme and Pristine, catching them hand over fist in the last 100 metres or so.
From there he has made further progress and won doing the proverbial handsprings last time under Brett Doyle.
Despite circling his rivals he pulled further and further clear to beat the useful worker Just In Time by a very comfortable 4.5 lengths. He probably could have won by more like six lengths if Doyle had really ridden him out.
The handicapper's reaction has been to allocate him to a mark of 67 and that appears to be on the lenient side.
On my griffin ratings, it is hard to have Rebel Leader running to much less than a 75 and there are good grounds for thinking that he is likely to improve again for the experience of his most recent effort.
For one there is Lane's style of training. He doesn't ask his youngsters a serious question in the morning and the good ones are open to plenty of natural improvement from race to race until they are exposed to the handicapper's grip.
Rebel Leader is far from exposed and other than Lane's modus operandi, Rebel Leader himself has been indicating in his work that the expected improvement is well and truly there and likely to materialise.
His past couple of serious hitouts have been with his Class Two stablemate Silent Partner and he's more than held his own.
He is likely to get back in the run from barrier 13 but then Hin Yuen's Unicorn, Electronic Dragon and Super Goal Striker should ensure that this is a truly run affair.
All three are influences for pace and it is hard to imagine that this 1,400-metre contest will be anything other than run at a solid clip.
Blazing Bob is another who can go forward and the indications from his trackwork are that he could be worth throwing into the quinella with Rebel Leader at a likely decent price.
His trackwork had dipped prior to his previous run and he could well be up to Class Three. His Topspeed figures point to that being the case.
Elsewhere look out for an improved run from Country Dragon in the opener while a quinella combination of Happy Boy, Faithful Assurance, Easy Star and maybe Jet Jackson could pay dividends in a thin-looking second event.
The Ricky Yiu-trained Electronic Unicorn could be far too good for his rivals in the concluding Hong Kong Racehorse Owners Association Trophy with Shaxi Fortune, much improved last time for the addition of blinkers, providing a possible short-priced quinella to the end of another season.