Victory Conqueror gets the draw to end run of bad luck
Victory Conqueror has been out of luck in five runs since scoring a smart first-up victory, but with the aid of barrier one he should bounce back to his best in the middle leg of tomorrow night's Triple Trio at Happy Valley.
With the TT only being partially won at last week's meeting, the main prize is expected to reach HK$7 million, and Victory Conqueror looks a standout banker with the advantage of a claim for Jacky Tong Chi-kit.
The John Moore-trained gelding opened the term with a strong course and distance win, before failing to negotiate a rise to 1,400m. He was then unlucky not to be in the finish behind Fantastic Choice after being held up at a crucial stage, turned in a great effort behind Ocean Wide after covering ground, and he had no luck at his next two appearances from poor gates.
From the prime draw, he gets the chance to be ridden prominently again, probably landing on the back of likely leader Har Har Charms, and the three-year-old should power away in the straight to the delight of punters.
Encore Win will appreciate a return to this course and distance, and shapes as a nice double banker.
His only success came at the same circuit eight months ago, but he has struggled at his last two appearances when attempting longer trips.
From gate four, the Derek Cruz-trained gelding should park in a prominent position and give Victory Conqueror some serious opposition.
Others capable of hitting the frame are Har Har Charms, Top Top Light and Super Snippets, while Happy Ambassador and Magic Sweep need luck from wide barriers.
In the opening leg, Amazing Fortune looks to have his rivals covered, despite coming up with the awkward draw of gate nine.
The Francis Lui Kin-wai-trained gelding ended last term with a solid victory, before returning to the track with a good effort behind Rocket And Gold when a wide gate brought about his downfall.
In a race where several runners look likely to settle back in the field, it will be no surprise to see the five-year-old more aggressively ridden in the early stages by Brett Prebble, and he only needs to find some cover to be the one to beat.
His toughest opposition will come from Brilliant Flash, Dr Well, Dashing Champion and Baturo.
In the final leg, it's hard to go past Towkay Flyer on the back of a smart last-start win when he was sensationally backed from HK$300 into HK$99 close to the jump.
The Almond Lee Yee-tat-trained gelding was a model of consistency last season, and his first-up performance behind Hongkong Superstar had plenty of merit, given the amount of early work he did in an attempt to overcome the outside alley.
He fronted up two weeks later over 1,200m, bounced straight to the lead, and kicked strongly to return to his best. The four-year-old takes a rise of seven pounds after taking into account Alex Lai Hoi-wing's allowance, but he should bounce straight to the lead again and will be the one they all have to catch.
An excellent double banker is Longwah Rising on the back of his ultra-consistent form, while others capable of getting into the act are Blue Sky, Buccaneer, Value Choice and Classic Navigator.