Horseshoe Fortune looks set to maintain Yiu's momentum
Horseshoe Fortune can continue trainer Ricky Yiu Poon-fai's golden run as a banker for Triple Trio punters in the middle leg of the Sha Tin exotic - The Heung Yee Kuk Cup (1,650m) on the all-weather surface.
Yiu has led in 11 winners from his past 55 starters at a strike rate of 20 per cent, and the in-form trainer has elected to switch his four-year-old to the dirt track for the first time on Sunday in a bid to extract the first win from the Chineur gelding.
Horseshoe Fortune has shown some positive signs since being moved to Yiu's stables after former trainer Alex Wong Yu-on dropped the gelding's rating from an import mark of 85 down to 62 before Yiu got his chance.
Two minor placings and two fourths have maintained Horseshoe Fortune at about that level since September, and his last-start third behind Leading City over 1,400m was full of merit and hinted that he may be looking for further. The horse has been tried twice at the mile trip, once when he first arrived and didn't enjoy his only career outing at Happy Valley, and the second three starts back when a game runner-up to Sure Forward lumping 132 pounds in Class Four.
That effort pushed him back up into the bottom of Class Three, and he has sprinted well enough in finishing off his races with light weights to catch the eye leading into this affair.
The big positive for Horseshoe Fortune with the step up in trip will be the slower early tempo, as the gelding has little early dash compared to his short-course rivals and has often been relegated to further back than midfield in his races.
From gate seven, apprentice Keith Yeung Ming-lun should attempt to slot his charge into a trailing position midfield early, and if he can do so, his five-pound allowance to drop the weight further to 109 pounds will only bolster the pair's winning chances in the sprint home.
The danger comes from promising topweight Summer Dash for trainer David Hall and the resuming Brett Prebble, but at the pair's last-start meeting, the weights made the difference between the two runners and that can be expected to be the case again.
At his Hong Kong debut, Summer Dash railed through from the rear to place fifth behind Leading City, 1 3/4 lengths behind Horseshoe Fortune in third.
Summer Dash will strip fitter for the run and has already shown a liking for the dirt in his barrier trials, his most recent effort behind Cerise Cherry over 1,200m on January 21 being a real eye-catcher.
Some well-exposed sprinters contest the final leg down the straight 1,000m course, but they will have their work cut out to match the lightly raced Rich Unicorn for John Size and Douglas Whyte.
Rich Unicorn burst through the pack from last to narrowly miss over 1,200m last start behind Elegance Desire, and two prior wins on the dirt proved he has the toe to match this field down the 1,000m.
Hall has a good chance of figuring with his speedy course specialist Blaze King, who sports the blinkers again after a couple of lacklustre runs over longer without the headgear.
No More Green should also be considered a danger from gate 10 with apprentice Derek Leung Ka-chun in the irons for Tony Cruz, while Mr Celerity and Super Boy make appeal at the bottom end of the weights.
The opening leg gives Pegasus Supreme a chance to bounce back to winning form on his favourite surface, and Zac Purton should ensure the Francis Lui Kwan-wai-trained galloper is very hard to beat from gate three.
The Caspar Fownes-trained Perfect Ten rates as a big danger if Weichong Marwing can navigate a good trail from barrier 14, while Prebble's mount Buccaneer and Whyte's ride Be Grateful also bear careful consideration.
Ricky Yiu has been in dazzling form netting 11 winners from his past 55 starters, a strike rate of: 20%