Stravinsky primed to give Shum and Dye a flying start
Trainer Danny Shum Chap-shing and new stable rider Shane Dye can kick their official association off to a flying start by taking out the final leg of the Triple Trio for Sunday's season opener at Sha Tin.
Shum and Dye will combine in race six with last season's smart griffin, Lucky Stravinsky.
The three-year-old New Zealand bred showed he was ready for a first-up charge with a brilliant workout down the riverside gallop on Thursday morning.
The Stravinsky gelding flew over the straight 800m run in a blistering 45 seconds, with the excellent splits of 22.4 and 22.6.
Dye and Shum did exactly the same for last season's opener, when Jolly Good Fortune also worked fast over the same turf, then came out and won under Dye. Now as the new stable jockey for Shum, they can repeat the effort.
Lucky Stravinsky had five runs last term for a win, three seconds and a fourth. With only 118 pounds this time, he is certainly up to beating older horses and appeals as the banker in a tricky race.
His task has been made easier with the Tony Cruz-trained Genki King, a winner at his last two starts over the Sha Tin 1,200m, being an emergency. But if he happens to make the final 14, he'll definitely be a threat.
Topweight Gallant Knight and Happy Master, now appeal as the main dangers. Each is working well but Gallant Knight, although very consistent, has won only once, while Douglas Whyte will have to be at his masterly best on the Manfred Man Ka-leung-trained Happy Master from barrier 12.
Whyte will also have his work cut out in the first leg (race four) on King of Field for Francis Lui Kin-wai, having also drawn wide in gate 11.
King of Field has won in similar company and has been working very well. If Whyte can get him across and give him a good ride, he will be very hard to beat with Double Happiness, Master Marauder and Gold Sandfield looking the main dangers.
The middle pin (race five) looks the toughest of the three legs. Whyte has again drawn off the track on the John Size-trained Clean Sweep, formerly with repatriated Australian David Hayes.
Clean Sweep is still a maiden after 13 runs but certainly deserves a win with four seconds and also four thirds. Again, if Whyte can get him across from barrier 13 into a good position, the Australian-bred four-year-old just might crack it at his first run for the formidable Size yard.
The Tony Cruz-trained Mr Genki, who was wide throughout last start, Joyful World and Vital Patrol look the dangers.
Mr Genki has twice won over the circuit while Joyful World, a recent barrier trial winner down the straight at Sha Tin, will improve greatly back on a firm surface. He could well give Corey Brown a successful start to the new season.
Vital Patrol, representing the combination of John Moore and Michael Rodd, won impressively before the break and worked in great style last Tuesday. He should sprint very hard at the end of the 1400m and just might tip them all out.