Master Gunner to strike a blow for TT players
Master Gunner will be all the better for two runs from a break and is primed to get his career back on track in the middle leg of Sunday afternoon's Triple Trio at Happy Valley.
With the TT only being partially won at Sha Tin last weekend, the main prize is expected to reach HK$15 million and, from a favourable draw, Master Gunner looks a standout banker.
The John Moore-trained gelding showed nice promise last season but went to the break on the back of three luckless performances, which followed a smart Happy Valley win.
He was never likely when resuming in an unsuitable 1,000m event on October 1, but he put the writing on the wall when fronting up seven days later with a fast-closing fourth to all-the-way winner Billion.
That event is already proving to be a strong form race with fifth-placed Wonderful Blessing winning on Wednesday, while Dordenma and Something Special, who filled the placings, should also be noted down as coming winners.
The race looks likely to be run at a solid pace, which should allow Eric Saint-Martin to bide his time in the early stages and bring the three-year-old with a powerful finishing burst to gather in his rivals.
His main danger will come from capable Lhojong, who makes his debut for the Paul O'Sullivan stable.
Although the six-year-old has failed to deliver on what he had promised early, he indicated he may be ready to turn things around when winning a trial on September 23.
Other worthy inclusions are Victory Treasure, King Fay Fay and Solar Power.
In the opening leg, regular bridesmaid Vintage Gold shapes up as the best banker option from a good draw.
Although the Sean Woods-trained gelding is yet to open his winning account in 24 starts, he has managed to place on eight occasions, and will be right at his peak after two runs this time in.
He should get a nice run on the back of the speed and will likely look the winner at some stage in the straight, making him an ideal banker in a wide open race.
Key Winner didn't appreciate being ridden closer to the speed last start and he is worth including at odds, while others capable of getting into the act are Amazing Fortune, Rocket And Gold and King Of Shaver, with the potential improver being Needles And Thread.
In the final leg, Local Power fits the banker bill, given he will relish a drop in weight.
The Dennis Yip Chor-hong-trained gelding turned in an excellent first-up effort in an unsuitable race, before being anchored under the steadier of 133 pounds last start.
He is better served on this occasion with eight pounds less and he should end up with a nice run on the back of the speed for Brett Prebble.
His toughest opposition will come from Chater Silk, King Acrylic, Real Special and Multo Expresso.