Punters should be in Clover
IRISH import Lucky Clover had his planned seasonal debut washed out two weeks ago but the extra time has certainly done him no harm and the four-year-old makes appeal as the banker for the second leg of the Double Trio at Sha Tin tomorrow.
The popular bet could well pay a very handsome dividend as both legs throw up a number of chances and even finding a reliable banker is no easy task.
But Lucky Clover has continued to impress at the track since the abortive debut plans and does look primed to give a top account of himself in this Class Two, 1,600-metre event.
Lucky Clover could not have been more eye-catching when finishing a close-up second over 1,400 metres at huge odds last season to Tim's Joy. He then acquitted himself reasonably over a mile and looks well placed in the middle of Class Three tomorrow.
Trainer Peter Ng Bik-kuen has again entrusted the riding chores to Danny Lee and despite the unhelpful draw of 12, they must be involved in the concluding stages.
Topweight Racing Ace is an obvious and immediate danger.
He goes into this event off the back of two runs this season already and his last one, under ace South African rider Jeff Lloyd, oozed merit. He failed to catch handy winner Grand Warrior but will find tomorrow's extra 200 metres much more to his liking.
Racing Ace has one excellent second placing last season to Dashing to his credit and that is solid form. In this Class Three event he goes up a thumping 16lb on his last run but must have a top chance.
Sandal Emperor has been working well and leading trainer Lawrie Fownes would have to fancy his chances of being involved in the carve-up with this handy performer while last-start winner Dragons Desert certainly has not regressed.
Former top flight performer Starlight could be finding it a bit harder these days but has gone well in his lead-up work and is not without claims.
The first leg of the DT could turn into one of the hottest contests of the afternoon - and there are a number of good races programmed.
The two most obviously progressive types in the field are topweight Explorer and the Fownes-trained Super Bingo II.
The burden of being the banker bet goes to Explorer, largely because he is sure to have come on from his first-up winning run under Frankie F.C. Lor at Happy Valley.
That was over the longer sprint and he is going to appreciate the step up to 1,600 metres here and the engagement of champion jockey Basil Marcus is another massive plus factor.
Marcus is riding in top form and it is not possible to believe that we have reached the bottom of exciting Explorer just yet.
The topweight allocation should not unduly trouble him as he won with Marcus astride last season when lumping 139lb. That was also on soft ground, making it even more of a burden. To have won as he did then merely confirmed that this youngster was headingupwards.
Given his obvious ability, it must be reasonable to assume that he could give an account of himself in Class Two. It's not an easy race but Marcus, who does not know the meaning of defeat, can surely be relied upon to get him into the first three if it ishumanly possible.
Other chances abound. Amazing Grace has been going extra well in the mornings while Patrick Biancone has done a considerable amount of work with the excellent Flirting Dancer and there will be plenty of support for this fellow, particularly with Mick Kinane engaged.
Red Star has been responsible for a couple of excellent trials and is another good ride for Lloyd while Fortune Ring, with boom claimer Francis K.S. Lam aboard, would doubly appreciate any give in the ground.
Super Bingo II is a top chance. He has marched upwards and looked good every time he has stepped out. This is by far his hardest contest but you can only win - and Super Bingo has done that in excellent style.