School Days set to pass Triple Trio test
The ING Hong Kong Champions and Chater Cup day at Sha Tin on Sunday should prove to be a marvellous spectacle, but to add further gloss to the meeting, the Jockey Club has added $38 million from the Triple Trio reserve with the pool likely to reach $90 million by the close of betting.
Peter Chapple-Hyam's improving stayer, School Days, looks the logical banker in the middle pin, which is a pretty open affair. The strapping son of Danehill has shown marked improvement since he stepped up to the mile two starts back, and has notched up a win and a placing over the same course and distance.
Koh-I-Noor battled back to beat him last time, but that form has held up well with Koh-I-Noor finishing a game second in a much stronger event. Shane Dye retains the ride on School Days, and from barrier seven should not have to work too hard to find a handy position.
Universal Charger was soundly beaten by School Days last time, but clearly was not suited by the moderate tempo set in that event. Champion jockey-elect Douglas Whyte is booked to ride him again, and from barrier four he should enjoy a good run through the race.
Handover has been holding his form very well, and he should enjoy this drop back in grade. He was finishing off well last time, and the move back to Sha Tin may be exactly what he is looking for. Chiu Chow Brother has shown a good deal of promise in only a few outings, and with Way Leung's claim, comes in dangerously handicapped.
In the opening leg of the TT, last start winner Dashing Winner looks serious banker material. He should relish the step up in distance, and his narrow winning margin last time has ensured that he is still well handicapped.
Derek Cruz has recently acquired Fish King, and he did trial stylishly earlier this month. He may find it hard to win from a wide gate, but is clearly one for the shortlist.
David Hayes has opted to replace the blinkers on California Kid, who has been something of a disappointment. With a good barrier and a gear change, he should be given another chance.
Flirting Star bled on his last start, but prior to that had shown positive progress, and his work has been nothing short of outstanding. He is open to further improvement, and must be included.
In the final leg of the TT, Supreme Cat looks safe banker material on the back of a fine effort last time behind Splendid Star over this course and distance. His recent run of good form gives him the slight preference over Romantic Symphony, who has proved something of a specialist over the straight course.
Hydrogen Power can be given another chance after disappointing last time when he was a beaten favourite. Obviously, he was not suited by Happy Valley, and if he can return to the form where he finished second to Energy Vitality, he should be right in the finish.
Both Merry Merry and Fortune Maker have solid claims over the minimum trip, with a slight preference for the former who is maintaining his form well.
In the fifth event, the second leg of the Double Trio, Win Okay looks the one to beat after narrowly failing on his debut. He looks a promising sort who gets his chance to atone.
Grand Fighter should appreciate the 10-pound claim that Way Leung can provide, while Refreshingly has found a purple patch of form and must be considered again.
Of the rest, Operation Humour caught the eye last time when he was making steady ground all the way to line and with Whyte on board he must be included.