Back to his pet trip, Serious Play looks best banker
Serious Play may be in the twilight of his career, but the nine-year-old can give his younger rivals a galloping lesson in the opening leg of tomorrow night's Triple Trio at Happy Valley.
The Peter Ho Leung-trained gelding certainly doesn't win out of turn, but his best form is clearly saved for when he lines up at the city circuit over 1,800 metres.
The last four times he has raced over this track and trip, Serious Play has registered a win, a second, a third and a fourth, and his recent form indicates he still has what is required to lift the main prize once again.
He looked set to land his first success for a year two starts back before being nailed on the line by Bulb Treasure, and his last effort to finish fourth to King Of Shaver after being taken back from a wide barrier was full of merit.
His winning chances will be enhanced if the forecast rain arrives and he won't get a better chance to notch up his fourth success.
His main danger will come from Baturo, despite the four-year-old being a slight query at running out a strong 1,800m.
The Me Tsui Yu-sak-trained gelding had been struggling in sprint races, before showing he was back in business with a good second to Fantastic Win when stretched to 1,650m.
The four-year-old looks set to get the run of the race under Douglas Whyte from gate three and will likely look the winner at some stage in the straight.
Others worth entertaining are Mega Bullet, despite a wide alley, Strike To Win, Gem Master and regular bridesmaid Dendranthema Love.
In the middle leg, Solar fits the banker bill on the back of two terrific performances.
The Ricky Yiu Poon-fie-trained gelding resumed from a freshen up with a terrific effort behind Friendship two starts back, before again coming up marginally short behind progressive Amazing Choisir last outing.
The event looks likely to be run at a solid tempo, which should allow Jacky Tong Chi-kit to bide his time in the early stages and power over the top of his rivals in the final stages. His main danger appears to be Fortune Warrior, given the gelding showed he was coming back to form with an improved effort last start.
The Andy Leung Ting-wah-trained gelding may have been struggling for most of the season, but it's significant that it was at this time last year that he really struck form.
His last-start performance behind Amazing Choisir showed he still has what is required and he is now very well placed on his best form.
Other worthy inclusions are Best Power, Romantic Green, Wonderful Blessing and Champion Lad, despite a wide barrier.
In the final leg, London Express can make a rapid turnaround in form after being well beaten in Sunday's Champions & Chater Cup behind Packing Winner. The Andreas Schutz-trained entire may have been hopelessly outclassed on Sunday, but his previous two performances over staying trips were solid. He only has to repeat his luckless second to Real Special three starts back to be the one to beat.
Dash Ahead may have been a surprise winner last start, but he can show the effort was no fluke by turning in a comparable effort here - a definite possibility as he tends to hold his form once he strikes it.
The last time the seven-year-old raced over this track and trip he finished second to Eye Witness and he will be another who will appreciate more rain.
Others capable of figuring in the act are Lhojong, Man In The Mirror, Maverick and Fantastic Guy.