Bank on Bravo to deliver the goods
Punters won't have to wait for the International Trial races on Sunday to see a top grade horse - and Triple Trio players will be pinning their hopes on the strong chance that the John Size-trained Lucky Bravo will give a glimmer of his huge potential in the final leg of the exotic, which carries a jackpot of HK$3.45 million.
Lucky Bravo was pummelled into favouritism on debut at Happy Valley and, after settling back from gate seven, pulled his way to the outside before balancing up and swooping late to grab fourth in a race dominated by on-pace winner Good Words.
Keith Yeung Ling-mun was in the saddle on that occasion and did his best to hold onto the horse once he balanced up and let rip, but that was about all he could manage and stewards were quick to question why he did not use the whip on the horse.
With Douglas Whyte back, Lucky Magic will be kept under a tight hold until he balances up at the 300m mark on the bigger track, and punters would be well advised to start filing down from the grandstand, then in order to get a prime position at the collection window.
Barrier 13 holds a little concern, but followers can trust in Whyte to manage that situation early and ensure the Faltaat gelding is an absolute standout as a choice for a banker.
There are a number of other nice youngsters who can play a supporting role - namely second-starter Nice Folks and debutant Fortune Eight - and combined with the exposed runners like Brave Heart and Plentiful should parcel up the final trio between them.
Brave Heart has won twice and placed second twice from six starts at Sha Tin over 1,200m to 1,400m and will strip fitter for his resuming effort on November 6, while Plentiful has 115 pounds on his back and two 1,200m wins under his belt from five starts.
Lightly raced improvers also hold the key to the middle leg and, from his good draw, Crown Witness should help Felix Coetzee and Tony Cruz get their excellent partnership off to a flying start this season.
Crown Witness has been tried twice down the 1,000m straight since arriving and now looks ready for the step up to a more suitable 1,400m journey. With little early pressure for the lead on paper, Coetzee should be able to rate his galloper to suit himself and the hulking Elusive City gelding will take care of the rest.
Young Turbo - raced by the young members of the Racing Club - provides the X-factor to the race and the step up to 1,400m looks perfectly suited to this Size-Whyte runner.
Like his stablemate Lucky Bravo, Young Turbo will appreciate the service of the senior rider after racing too fiercely with the apprentice on debut, where he had spent all his pennies by the 350m mark. Ridden quiet and allowed to hit the line, Young Turbo should make good improvement second-up.
Goodview Successor will also improve on his debut run but, from barrier 14, Howard Cheng Yue-tin will have his work cut out to get him in a winning position early. Of the exposed brigade, Racing Legend, with 119 pounds and Zac Purton in the saddle, Brett Prebble's mount Horseshoe Fortune, and Champagne Days make the most appeal on face value.
The first leg will be where fortunes are won or lost, with the Jockey Club programmers being nice enough to throw in a Class Five dirt race over 1,800m to keep punters on their toes.
Dirt specialists like Dash, Vinsanto, Lightning Mount, Storm's Destiny and Couldn't Care less make obvious appeal and should all be considered carefully.
Despite recording only one third in his 11 starts, Kowloon Pride has finally shed the 13 points required to drop in grade and, a year after arriving on a mark of 52, he makes appeal for Size and Whyte from barrier four.
Decagonal - who makes his first start on the dirt - and the Andy Leung Ting-wah-trained Humongus also make appeal in this grade from good draws.