Bank on Napa II to deliver the TT goods
Trainer Paul O'Sullivan has had a stellar start to the new calendar year with a major victory in the Group One Stewards' Cup last month and the winning haul can continue with Napa II in the 18 Districts Cup - the final leg of Sunday's Triple Trio at Sha Tin.
Napa II has been a good flag bearer for the stable since stepping out last April, winning once and placing twice in his first season of racing, and has maintained his consistency in five runs this campaign.
He made a winning return off a big weight in Class Four over the 1,400m on October 17, before making a sound bid late for a third and a second respectively behind smart Algarve over the 1,600m in this grade.
With Algarve out of the way, the four-year-old ran down My Goal to taste victory again on New Year's Day over the 1,600m.
O'Sullivan then stepped him up to 2,000m for the first time. He was caught behind a wall of horses at the head of the straight before finding daylight 300m out to run on strongly late for fourth behind Lhojong.
The son of Red Ransom should be suited to the 1,800m and looks the logical banker from gate one.
Glory Of India is reacquainted with his winning rider Jeff Lloyd from a 1,600m run in October after a suspension to his regular rider Douglas Whyte. He is fitter for a closing fifth and a fourth after returning from a foot injury and is one of the main dangers, while Wo Ai Ninn, an impressive runner-up in his debut in Class Four; Dash Ahead, Horace's Legend, Monte Cristo, Fortune Winner and Fat Dragon are other chances.
In the first leg, it is hard to go past Private Road as a banker. He has been finding the line better since a move to blinkers - finishing well for third behind Ejimeric Te Specso last month over the 1,400m - and will be rolling late under Lloyd's guidance.
Tony Millard's ultra-consistent High Intelligent needs to defy gate 14 for a fourth time this term, but finished a good fourth behind Brave Heart and Blessing and is a chance with apprentice Keith Yeung Ming-lun taking over the ride.
Encosta Don, Sohna, Moonglow, Glorious Giant and newcomer Thistle Spirit merit consideration.
It is a tricky middle leg, but Tony Cruz's Best Noodle may prove a worthy banker from gate four with a tongue-tie added for jockey Weichong Marwing, who replaces the injured Matthew Chadwick.
He was a second-up winner over the 1,800m at the Valley, and has made the frame in his past two runs from seven attempts, including a rallying third behind Wise Lover and Healthy Blueberry over this surface and trip.
Olympicship failed to handle the 2,200m last start, but had made the frame in four of his five earlier runs and has proven dirt form, while Dash, Healthy Blueberry, Something Special, Precision Magic, Be Grateful, Golden Ball and Alice Too can make an impact at the finish.