Piggott quick to join Allan camp
WITH declarations taken yesterday for Saturday's Lunar New Year meeting at Sha Tin, punters can have a leisurely perusal of the form over the holiday period - but Lester Piggott's mount Horse Delight will almost certainly still look the best Double Trio banker for the second leg of the exotic bet.
The legendary Piggott, who has been stopping off in Hong Kong for over two decades, has a busy first day here this time with five rides and effortless last start winner Horse Delight looks about the best of them.
Only a three-year-old, last year's griffin dropped rapidly into Class Five, found his feet and won with complete authority for Walter Swinburn over the longer sprint at Happy Valley last time.
He has now gone up to Class Four but on the evidence of his last win, Horse Delight is capable of winning in this grade - particularly off a light weight.
Piggott is expected to do a considerable amount of riding for trainer and old pal Ivan Allan while he is here and the current championship leader has Horse Delight in good shape for this 1,200-metre event.
While Horse Delight can definitely win, as a Double Trio banker he is very hard to oppose. A young horse in good form and still in company that is not totally exacting, he can be expected to reach the frame.
Topweight Go Go is a Class Three horse competing here on the overlapping system and he does have major claims despite the hefty 140-pound burden.
He has been thereabouts in his last three runs and finished second to Cop The Cash over this trip which is certainly form good enough to win it.
Captive Trick, another runner from the Allan stable, was fortunate to beat Blaze Of Glory last time but does have claims over this trip. He is a free-striding type who goes well for Basil Marcus and they should be handy.
The first leg of the Double Trio is the Hong Kong Classic Trial where the logical banker is Our Pal, clear favourite for this year's Derby.
Our Pal is reunited with Tony Cruz who was actually beaten on the horse in Class Five. It's changed times since then with Our Pal now in Class One.
He has not been out since International Races Day in December when he was ridden to a stirring victory by Declan Murphy, eventually successful on the horse last season at Happy Valley in Class Five.
Our Pal is a grand type of horse and is the rightful favourite for the February 27 renewal of the Hong Kong Derby. He has been mixing it with the best racing here and held his own which suggests it will take a good one to beat him in the Trial.
From a DT point of view, this is almost certainly not a good race for betting purposes. Our Pal looks certain to be short and it is difficult to see him finishing out of the first three.
It is also interesting to note that Allan has fitted the blinkers for the first time to McBrave, his excellently-performed import from Australia who has good Group form to his credit.
Piggott rides Sterling Town and this is another good ride for the English superstar.
Cop The Cash has been something of a revelation winning both his starts in exemplary fashion. He has been stepped up from 1,200 metres to 1,400 metres and now tackles the Classic Trial distance of 1,600 metres. He should be well suited by the trip.