Hayes hopes to get a Dream win
David Hayes and Gerald Mosse have an excellent chance to land the penultimate event with Native Dream, who can make amends for a luckless run over the Sha Tin mile on his only start this term.
Nothing went right for Native Dream on his only start this term, mainly due to the moderate tempo set by Classic Master. The lack of pace in the early stages made it impossible for Native Dream to win, but he would have still finished second to Sambuca if he'd had more luck in the home straight.
On numerous occasions the gaps closed, but when he found clear room inside the final 100 metres, Native Dream hit the line strongly. There is a strong chance the race will be run more truly today, with Classic Master unlikely to dictate the pace with the presence of Super Brose and Summerland.
In addition, Native Dream, with the benefit of one run this term will be fitter. Mosse will need to weave some magic from gate 11 in order not to cover too much extra ground, but providing he doesn't get caught too wide he should take some beating.
Classic Master finished ahead of Native Dream when they last met, but with the strong likelihood he will not get the chance to dictate this time round, he may struggle to hold that form. Super Brose will more than likely press forward, but he is a major risk over the Sha Tin mile and is best opposed.
Another potential pace influence, Summerland, has been unplaced each from nine local starts. His recent work has shown a shade of improvement and may be worth including in multiples if he jumps at decent odds, remembering he had Group form in France.
One of the obvious threats comes from highly consistent Sirocco. He showed his win in the Kwangtung Handicap Cup (1,400m) was no fluke when a solid third to Great Delight in the Toyota Cup (1,400m) last month. He is well drawn and has each-way claims once again.
Caspar Fownes' Himalaya put in a sterling performance when fifth to Dynamic Fun over 1,800m at Happy Valley. He is a winner over 1,600m at Sha Tin and while he will need luck from a wide barrier, is a good chance to hit the frame.
Ricky Yiu Poon-fie's Flying Bishop is a five-time winner over the course and distance and while his form this season has been sound, he leaves the impression he may be in the grip of the handicapper. That also appears to be the case for stablemate Gift, who definitely needs relief in the ratings.
Inverness steps up to the mile and from gate one looks a top chance of getting the run of the race just behind the leaders. His form this season probably isn't good enough to suggest he can win this event, but he has place claims.
A similar case could be made for Packing Angel, who probably should have won on his seasonal reappearance when third to Noble Silence over the Valley mile.
The obvious concern for him is his form reads much better at Happy Valley, or on the all-weather surface. He has only managed to hit the frame once from six turf starts at Sha Tin which is a cause for concern.
Tony Cruz has the yard firing on most cylinders but one exception is Lucky Paradise. His form this season hasn't impressed, and given he has been well beaten on both starts, he is another one where the handicapper has won the battle for the time being. Despite his reasonable past form over the course and distance, he is hard to recommend today.
John Size-trained Liberal's Choice has proved a shade disappointing this term, finishing 10th on both starts. The booking of Douglas Whyte is worth noting, but he will need luck from gate 13 and is more than likely to start under the odds.
Hayes-trained Tom's First often runs up to his best, but that hasn't been good enough for some time and he probably needs a little relief in the ratings. If the pace is fast, he will be suited but his real opportuity would arrive it happened to rain.
Byron is yet to hit the frame from seven local starts and based on his form this season - a veritable mile below his stakes form in Melbourne last year - he can be ruled out.