Ho Ho Life ticks all the right boxes for final leg of TT
A sharp drop in weight and step up to the 1,800 metres should give Triple Trio players great confidence in making the Dennis Yip Chor-hong-trained Ho Ho Life a banker in the final leg at Happy Valley tomorrow night.
Champion jockey Douglas Whyte has enjoyed two Class Four wins on the gelding over 1,650m - the latest a gritty short head victory over Classic Boy lumping 133 pounds - and Whyte won't have been eating many Valentines' Day chocolates as he aims to make the 117 pounds for the Class Three ride.
Barrier five puts the icing on the cake for Ho Ho Life's winning chances at his first start beyond a mile, with every expectation that he will eat the extra 150m for breakfast with no weight on his back.
Whyte will no doubt put the Clangalang gelding to sleep behind the leading bunch early from the good draw, should find himself in the perfect trailing position until they turn for home, and in that scenario punters who have made it through the first two legs and have bankered Ho Ho Life can begin cheering home their other selections at that point.
Perhaps fellow lightweight Wo Ai Ninn will pose the biggest threat to Ho Ho Life with the in-form Greg Cheyne on board for trainer Michael Chang Chun-wai from gate four.
Wo Ai Ninn returns to the Valley for only the second time after winning at his city track debut over 1,650m two runs back, and connections will be hoping the High Chaparral gelding can repeat his victory with the postage-stamp handicap of 115 pounds.
Amityship, Vilasol and Victory Mascot all warrant careful consideration, as does topweight Antipasto, who has Keith Yeung Min-lung's five-pound claim to offset his 133 pounds impost.
TT players could go a long way to find a more consistent and honest galloper than Topping Light - who rates as an ideal banker in the middle leg.
Trainer Caspar Fownes pushed the gelding up to a mile for the first time last start and the horse responded with yet another bold performance, the trademark of his 15-start career that has yielded 12 top-three finishes.
Apprentice Vincent Ho Chak-yiu has a good record on the horse and, although he will have his work cut out from barrier nine, an expected good tempo helped by last-start 1,000m winner Good Boy Boy should help him slot into a trailing position early on.
Paul O'Sullivan's gelding will take some running down with the tactful Zac Purton and 120 pounds on his back but, with a few speedy opponents, he may not get the chance to set his own tempo.
Able Charm gets his first look at the Valley but steps up to 1,200m, the distance over which he claimed an easy two-length win at Ruakaka in New Zealand as a two-year-old.
The John Moore-trained galloper has the talent to climb higher than his 69 rating, but whether he will show it in his first try around the tight city track is another question altogether.
Good Strike will rattle home late as always and should be considered a big hope of influencing the trio result from gate six, while Fresh Air and Glenealy Star are also capable types who have claims.
The opening leg is not an easy one and looks sure to whittle down the live tickets, but punters could do worse than looking to the Tony Cruz-trained Multiproud as an anchor for this third of the bet.
Multiproud was nosed out by Go Legend Go at his last start over this course and Gerald Mosse will ensure he is in a forward position from gate five, while others to consider are Well Noted, K-Jack, China Good, Racing Legend and Sugar On Top.