Luckless Nicku Nicku set to make amends
Nicku Nicku looks set to make up for a desperately unlucky effort last week when he lines up in the final leg of tomorrow night's Triple Trio at Happy Valley.
With the TT failing to be won last Wednesday, the prize on offer is expected to reach HK$9 million and the Almond Lee Yee-tat-trained gelding looks a safe banker option after coming up with gate two.
Although Nicku Nicku's win strike rate of one from 36 is far from inspiring, the six-year-old has been working up to a success in recent months and he looks to have found the perfect opportunity to return to winning ways.
The Pentire gelding had the blinkers added for the first time two starts back and turned in a good performance to finish fourth to the emerging Win Practitioner before looking unlucky not to take the prize last week when finishing fourth to Spaced.
Nicku Nicku enjoyed the run of the race on the back of the speed under Howard Cheng Yue-tin but was hopelessly blocked in the straight before winding up 11/2 lengths from the winner.
With clear running, he arguably would have won the event and he should be able to square the ledger from the ideal draw on this occasion.
The main danger, and an appealing double banker, is Vital Patrol (Christophe Soumillon).
The John Moore-trained gelding had been out of form for over a year before showing he was back in business with a good effort last start behind King Hogan over this same course and distance.
The seven-year-old was taken back from a wide alley to settle back on the fence but ran well in the final stages after taking inside runs to finish second.
His last success came over this course and distance and he should get every chance from gate five.
Others entitled to consideration are likely leader Liverbird, regular bridesmaid Military Option, Rain In Spring and Wait For Me, despite an awkward alley.
The opening leg looks wide open but from a good barrier the capable Buddies Spirit gets his chance to find winning form.
The Paul O'Sullivan-trained gelding, who was successful at the corresponding meeting last year, just struggled to run out the unsuitable 1,650m two starts back and he had excuses last outing when ridden back from the outside alley.
From gate two, Danny Nikolic should end up on the back of the likely leader Happy Sunday and, Buddies Spirit should be able to notch his fourth success.
Happy Sunday was a disappointment last start when the blinkers were removed but with the headgear reapplied he is entitled to another chance, while other worthy inclusions are Beauty Plus, Kaiser's Choix and New Triumph.
In the middle pin, the capable Wise Lover fills the banker bill after coming up with gate two for Douglas Whyte.
The Alex Wong Yu-on-trained gelding turned in a good effort in an unsuitable race two starts back before indicating he was on the verge of another success by running strongly behind Elegant Win.
Although Wise Lover is better known at Sha Tin, he had excuses at his only start over this track-and-trip when apprentice ridden and from the good draw he should be able to get over the top of his rivals.
Toy Quest has been a revelation this term and is one of the leading contenders, while others entitled to consideration are Sunbell, Noble Heart, Whiplash and Super Honey.