Super Sprint to break through
Wait until the final event on tonight's mixed meeting card at Sha Tin for the best bet when Ricky Yiu Poon-fie's International Sale graduate Super Sprint bids to break his maiden status by landing a competitive 1,200-metre event featuring seven former griffins.
Yiu's lightly-raced son of Thunder Gulch has impressed on both of his career starts, including his seasonal reappearance when he finished a creditable third behind Golden Promise. On that occasion he was having his first run at Happy Valley, where he did not look entirely at ease, and left the impression that he was going to improve considerably in fitness. With the benefit of an impressive trial since, he is significantly more tuned up for his assignment this evening.
Furthermore, the step up in distance is a positive move as he was staying on strongly last time over 1,000 metres. Steven King has picked up the ride in the absence of John Egan and, while he will need luck in running after drawing a wide alley, he should be able to position Super Sprint favourably as his mount has good early speed.
Hardest to beat, and the main quinella selection, should be the David Hayes-trained Tom's First, who beat Super Sprint by a head when the pair made their respective debuts as griffins. On that occasion the duo carried the same weight, as they do tonight, and with Tom's First having the advantage of a good barrier he is likely to come in for plenty of support. The son of Danehill Dancer did not appear to be entirely suited by the tight Valley circuit on his reappearance and he is open to plenty of improvement on this move back to Sha Tin. The slight concern is that there does not appear to be a great deal of pace in this event and he may just be at a slight disadvantage as a result as he does tend to settle near the rear of the field.
Wong Tang-ping's Ferrule is an interesting debutant as he has shaped nicely in his work and finished off quite well in a recent barrier trial. The well-bred son of Danehill will certainly improve for the experience, but he has shown enough to suggest he is worth including tonight.
Douglas Whyte will ride Manfred Man's Run And Win, who has drawn ideally in barrier one. The drop back in distance is a major bonus, as he has just found 1,400 metres a shade too far on his last two outings, and he will also appreciate the fact that he meets six other former griffins, most of whom he competed against last term.
John Moore's Lucky Lad was one of those, and he actually defeated Run And Win by the slimmest of margins off level weights. Taking that into consideration, Lucky Lad does have a slight advantage tonight as he receives two pounds off his rival.
South China Ninety will have the blinkers applied for the first time this evening and, while he is still a maiden, he does meet several in this field on good terms based on his griffin performances. While he has had quite a good deal of work leading up to this reappearance, his bodyweight is up markedly and he may just improve on the outing.
Victory Warrior has been more than a shade disappointing this term and, even though he showed marginal improvement last time, it is hard to recommend him.
Lawrie Fownes' Paobridge, a son of Coronation Day, has worked stylishly leading up to his first appearance. He was not pressured at any stage during his trial and it may be advisable to keep him safe.
Of the remainder, Look Who's Angel would prefer Happy Valley, while Glory St Paul's and Winning Mascot have not shown enough to merit closer attention.
Earlier in the evening, Anton Marcus can celebrate his return after suspension by taking the fourth event over 1,400 metres with the promising Chief Ivor. The lightly-raced son of Chief's Crown won over the same course and distance last season, which interestingly was also on the C+3 course. He is clearly open to plenty of improvement and has been given a solid preparation by Moore, which included winning a barrier trial recently.
The main quinella pick is Lion Rock, who lost few admirers on his last start when he was narrowly defeated by Po On Win over tonight's trip. He is another on the upgrade and should get the run of the race from his plum draw.