Implied Volatility has the draw to double-up
Trainer Alex Wong Yu-on's judgment call to step up Implied Volatility to 1,650 metres a few runs back came to fruition with a comfortable win last Wednesday and he can make it a running double with another success in the opening leg of tomorrow night's Triple Trio - an estimated first prize of HK$5 million - at Happy Valley.
Wong's initial call for blinkers to begin the season appears to be the spark that has ignited Implied Volatility's career.
The five-year-old found the line strongly second-up to earn his stripes with a maiden win over the 1,200m at Sha Tin on National Day, before covering ground and failing to fire in his next two runs from a wide gate.
Wong made the decision to step him up to a mile for his next engagement at the Valley on January 6 and dashed late for fourth behind Record High.
He was given a tough time 10 days later from gate 14 over the 1,800m at Sha Tin and scurried home late for sixth.
After an 18-day rest, Implied Volatility was back in action last Wednesday. Regular rider Howard Cheng Yu-tin had him travelling sweetly three back and one off the fence, pressed the button rounding the final bend and he went past them 100m out for a clear-cut win.
He should have no trouble with the extra eight pounds and Cheng should have him ready to click throughout from gate three.
The John Size-trained Kowloon Pride has been knocking on the door and looks a good dual banker play, while Spicy Fruity, The Witch's Broom, Magnanimous, Happy Cha Cha and Floral Nirvana are the other chances.
In the middle leg, the Caspar Fownes-trained O'Reilly Magic has been an absolute model of consistency in his five starts over the 1,650m at the Valley - scoring a convincing win last time out. He remains a logical banker, despite being handed 10-rating points.
Capable Gerald Mosse is the replacement rider for suspended Brett Prebble and he will have no trouble steering him home from gate four.
Quelle Surprise is making his course debut from a tricky gate, but has made a nice impression for a placing in two of four Sha Tin starts and must be respected, while Packing Buddy was a surprise winner last start over this trip; Super Genki, Winning Reward, Gallant Gallop and Young Hero are other possible chances.
It's a free-for-all in the last leg, but Paul O'Sullivan's New Chapter is a leading chance after his latest effort when a closing neck second behind rival Strawberry over this course and distance when fitted with a tongue tie from an outside gate.
In-form Zac Purton should have him better placed from gate six and he can again make his presence felt.
Strawberry, who is still alive for the Million Challenge and will be making good use of a 10-pound apprentice allowance, can figure even from gate 11, while Clement Elite, Fortune Winner, Travel Guide, Real Special and Eastern Empire are worth considering.