Packing Friend ready to salute judge
Trainer Peter Ho Leung's Packing Friend came close to greeting the judge on New Year's Day and looks poised to finally crack it in the middle leg of tomorrow's Triple Trio at Sha Tin, which has an estimated top prize of HK$4 million.
Leung gave owner Wai Siu-kee a welcome gift to begin the new year when Packing Buddy greeted the judge at odds of 92-1, and the stablemate can continue the good fortune. Packing Friend put the writing on the wall when a badly held-up fifth behind Super Gentlemen in his season debut on November 7 over this same 'C+3' course and trip. The four-year-old returned to action on January 1 and, after a deep trip near the speed from gate 11, was overhauled late by battle-hardened Penglai Xianzi.
Regular rider Alex Lai Hoi-wing, who has chosen Packing Friend over in-form Matsukaze, should give the son of Fusaichi Pegasus a softer run and, with more options from gate four this time, he is the one to beat.
Matsukaze has climbed 14 points in the ratings thanks to two wins and a second, and remains a dual banker play.
Mark Up, Spicy Fruity, Fionn's Dragon, Extra Special, Namjong Hunter and Ejimeric Te Specso are other possible chances.
Baturo has come to hand with top front-running performances - a 1,800m win at the Valley and a second behind Spinnaker over the 2,000m - and looks hard to run down in the opening leg.
Lightly raced Kowloon Pride, who is coming right after rallying efforts for fourth and fifth, must be considered, while Sparkling, Forest Fountain, Dashing Thunder, Implied Volatility, Win More and Ever King are other candidates.
The final leg is tough, but Winner Smart is an obvious banker. He has been threatening to break through with two seconds in three runs over this trip, including a head second behind Golden Treasure.
Global Win has gone to the line well in his two sprints over this surface and Brett Prebble should have him in the firing line throughout, while Golden Treasure, Mutual Friendship, China Hero, Buccaneer, King Of Hearts and True Intelligence should make it a free-for-all for the placings.