Goodview Successor can finally get a clear sight of finish line
Douglas Whyte will be keen to atone for Goodview Successor's last-start defeat in the opening leg of the Triple Trio at Sha Tin tomorrow, and punters can capitalise on Whyte's determination to win the Marigold Handicap on the Dennis Yip Chor-hong galloper by including him in all trio combinations as a banker.
Goodview Successor enjoyed a sightseeing tour of the 2,000m course last start, but from barrier 12, he was forced to sit on the wrong side of the bus, and never saw the running rail as he took in the stable complex, the rowing club and the quarantine centre on his way around the course.
For the first time in six starts the gelding has drawn a gate in single figures and, from barrier seven at the 1,800m start, Whyte will make sure he is sitting right behind the driver and will be the first to punch his ticket on the way to the line. What was most encouraging was that Goodview Successor didn't shirk his task at any stage and, after also being blocked for a run in the straight to add insult to injury, his 23/4-length sixth was as full of merit as it was devoid of luck.
It was interesting to note despite his solid work schedule, the O'Reilly gelding ballooned by almost 40 pounds in the month leading up to his last run and as a four-year-old with a Zabeel dam, perhaps he is just hitting his straps physically - although it may also be the case that Yip forgot to shoo the stable cats off the scales before weighing the horse last time.
Whatever the gelding's published bodyweight, the weight that counts tomorrow is the 122 pounds from the handicapper, with many of his main dangers. like last-start winner Goldmen YY and first-time Class Four runner Mirage R, having to lump significantly more.
The John Size-trained Bumper Strike and the Peter Ho Leung-trained Chantilly both warrant inclusion, despite their wide gates, while lightweights Super Strike and Divine Kid can also be considered in a trio scenario.
The middle leg is an intriguing affair with a number of last-start improvers, some lightly raced imports and horses on the quick back-up to complicate the race.
Shanghai Pioneer may have thrown in a bad stride in the home straight last start, but Andy Leung Ting-wah hasn't broken his gait in setting the gelding for two barrier trials within a week of each other to prove to stewards it won't happen again. His close second to Praising in the first of those practice runs was trumped by his comfortable trial win 11 days ago, and the Ishiguru gelding looks ready to fire under Darren Beadman.
Caspar Fownes raced Go Legend Go at Happy Valley on Wednesday night and has entered him on the three day back-up with apprentice Vincent Ho Chak-yiu to alleviate some of the 133 pound impost, and last-start winner Lombardi makes good appeal as a major player after being 'woken up'' by Brett Prebble and new trainer Ricky Yiu Poon-fai.
Strong European rider Neil Callan takes the reins for the suspended Prebble this time, but the fast finisher cannot be taken lightly and is sure to figure prominently yet again.
Peter Ng Bik-kuen's upset winner Harsh Brown returns after a freshen-up and should be considered with Size's consistent performer Showtime and the Paul O'Sullivan-trained Rock'N Typhoon.
The final leg is conducted over the all-weather 1,200m course and Tony Cruz has played the system well to drop his dirt specialist Perfect Fit back to a suitable rating.
Perfect Fit last won over this course off a mark of 66 - the exact point in the ratings he finds himself at now - and Cruz has dropped him back down the handicaps with five runs at Happy Valley.
Magic Temple and Loads Of Joy are at their mark, but always perform well on the dirt, while Praising should be included off his good barrier trial and second to Euro Power last Saturday.
Goodview Successor has had five starts in Hong Kong but has always drawn a gate in the double figures. Douglas Whyte should have a much easier time tomorrow when the Dennis Yip galloper starts from gate: 7