Smooth as Silk: Chater points the way to TT jackpot
The late flurry of winners from the David Ferraris stable looks set to continue when promising Chater Silk lines up in the final leg of Sunday's big Triple Trio at the final meeting for the season at Sha Tin.
With the opening pool of the TT kicking off at $30 million, the estimated dividend could be as high as $55 million and Chater Silk looks a standout banker after coming up with gate two for Anthony Delpech.
The Ferraris stable has been in great form of late, preparing 11 winners from the last 16 meetings, and on Chater Silk's recent form it's hard to envisage the Catbird gelding missing a place in a race that lacks a bit of depth.
Chater Silk has taken time to find his form this season but he finally landed his first victory three starts back when running on well to defeat Gung Ho and Winning Bullet over 1,400 metres at Sha Tin on May 7.
He turned in another excellent effort at his next attempt when finishing a close third to Enchanted and Terraferma over the same course and distance before stepping up to 1,600m last start and failing by a short head to capture Maverick Star.
In a race that doesn't appear any harder, Chater Silk looks set to be gifted all the favours from an inside barrier and clearly be the one to hold out. An appealing double banker option is the John Size-trained Vitality Champ.
The Danehill gelding ran a second-up second to Best Power before finishing a close third to Maverick Star and Chater Silk last start.
The four-year-old has drawn nicely in gate six for Douglas Whyte and, with the benefit of three runs after a break, he should be right at the top of his game.
Other worthy inclusions are Strong Sun, Delightful Win and Lucky Money, while it's hard to leave out the honest on-pacer Freebird.
The opening leg looks tough but the safest banker option appears to be the in-form Fujian Prince, to be partnered again by Whyte.
The Tony Millard-trained gelding is a winner of two of his last three attempts with a respectable placing to Spokesman at Happy Valley coming from his other appearance.
He steps up to 1,800m for the first time but, being by Desert King, he should have little trouble with the extra journey and is also aided by a good draw of gate five.
The dangers are Serious Play, King Hogan, Silver Mark, Red Wine Honey and likely leader X-Speed.
The middle pin is another tough race but Global Leader should fit the banker bill, stepping up to 1,400m for the first time under Whyte.
He turned in an excellent effort two starts back in running second to Plezayre before failing to negotiate rain-affected conditions last time out behind all-the-way winner Grass Hopper.
Should he run up to his previous effort, Global Leader will clearly be the one to beat with the main challenges coming from Check Mate, Happy Kid, Carry Good News, Century Super Star and Napa. The latter is backing up from a good effort at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
The Jockey Club has assured punters that the $10,651,242 jackpot from Wednesday night's TT, which was not won, has not been lost to them.
The club inadvertently created confusion when, last Sunday, it promised a $30 million TT jackpot for Sunday's meeting, and then committed in the official racebook that Wednesday's pool would also jackpot to Sunday if not won. But there was no addition here, and $30 million will still be the starting pool on Sunday.
Wilson Cheng Kwok-ming, speaking on behalf of executive director of betting Henry Chan Shing-kai, vowed that Wednesday's $10 million-plus had not disappeared. 'The $30 million was always going to represent a top-up amount,' Cheng said. 'The Wednesday night carry-over will now go into betting reserves, to be used for future TT jackpots next season.'