Determination and Whyte an appealing combination
Record-chasing jockey Douglas Whyte needs to keep the winners rolling at Sha Tin in order to notch an unprecedented century in a season and Ivan Allan's Determination is one ride the South African ace can rely on to bring him closer to his target.
There was plenty of betting support for Determination on his latest outing when fourth to Super Charge over 1,400 metres (April 25). The slow tempo, track bias and bad luck in running all played a part in his defeat and were clearly excuses. Whyte has snapped up the ride aboard the lightly raced English import who just has to hold the form from his last outing to prevail. He has drawn well in gate one and should prove hard to beat.
One of the obvious threats is John Size-trained In The Bank, who is chasing a hat-trick of wins. The progressive galloper won with a touch in reserve over the course and distance earlier this month and leaves the impression he is open to further improvement.
Few horses in this contest have been holding their form better than Fast Track, who steps up in grade following a game second to subsequent winner Pretty Trio on March 27. His sound recent form gives him strong claims to figure in the finish again.
Tony Cruz and Felix Coetzee team up with Zero In, who is another runner to keep safe in all bets. This fellow finished three-quarters of a length ahead of Determination when third to Super Charge in that April 25 race and must be respected, given that he meets Determination on the same terms today.
Several horses have performed exceptionally well this season when backing up within a week and Tanahmerah could be another after winning over the Valley mile this week. He is dropping back in trip but is clearly in good form and is hard to leave out of calculations.
Dennis Yip Chor-hong has enjoyed a fabulous season with 42 winners and Buddies Power was one of those, saluting over the Valley mile on April 21. He has been holding his form well throughout the season but strikes a stronger field today. Providing he doesn't have to work too hard from gate 10, he is capable of a place.
King Palm is another last-start winner, triumphing over 1,200 metres around the city course. The 10-pound claim of Terry Wong Chi-wai more than negates his eight-point penalty from that win but he will need more than an ounce of luck from gate 12.
John Moore rested Kowloon Star after his run on February 22 and he has been freshened up for this outing. On the positive side, he won first-up this season over the course and distance.
However, he leaves the impression he has reached his limit in the ratings and from gate 14 may have to work too hard in the early stages in get a decent position.
Geoff Lane has opted to utilise the seven-pound claim of Paul Lo Pak-hin for Paradis, who has struggled to prove competitive at his current rating (71). He has been around the same mark all season and there is no reason to suggest he can turn his form around in this event.
David Hayes steps Salut Beaute up to 1,400 metres for the first time and there have to be doubts whether he will see out the trip strongly. He has generally found Class Three opposition too strong and is better followed in Class Four.
The recent form of Porter Ricks has been poor, with just one place effort from seven attempts over the course and distance, and he makes little appeal.
Flash Harry jumped out of the same barrier (gate 13) when winning over the course and distance back in November but his form since then has been anything but impressive. He will be hard pressed to finish in the first half of the field.
None of the three local starts of Cheerful Boy have been encouraging and he looks safely held at this stage.