Lucky Emperor can get the Triple Trio fans off to a flier
In-form trainer Ricky Yiu Poon-fai has enjoyed success when employing the services of Zac Purton and the solid partnership can continue with improving Lucky Emperor in the Wang Tak Handicap (1,650m) - the opening leg of tomorrow's Triple Trio at Happy Valley with an estimated HK$3 million up for grabs.
They have combined for four wins, two seconds, five thirds and a fourth from 22 starters with race eight entry Romantic City chalking up three wins and three placings.
Lucky Emperor has had four different riders from his opening five runs and Purton - who has been getting the feel of the five-year-old in trackwork over the past two weeks - will be the man relied on to deliver the goods.
The gelding hasn't done much in 14 starts after arriving a 66-rated winner of his only Australian start over the 1,400m at Ballarat, but appears to be finding his way around off a mark of 36 now.
The son of Fusaichi Pegasus went close with only a sixth over this course and distance from his first three starts in Class Four, but has let down with purpose in two recent outings from wide gates at this level, overcoming a deep trip for a rallying mile third behind Speed Racer in December before coming from nearly five lengths down at the head of the straight for a respectable fifth behind Kimber Fortune, whittling the margin to two lengths at the finish over an unsuitable 1,200m.
Drawn ideally in gate two, Lucky Emperor looks a logical banker in an open contest, while Joyful Years continues to hold his condition well after scoring back-to-back wins last month, including a rallying half-length success over this course and distance, and remains a dual-banker play.
Cover Boy, Bulb Treasure, Winning Strategy, Full Pack and Incredible Eagle can fill a place.
In the middle pin, lightly performed Classic Boy looks a leading chance with a return to Happy Valley and the advantage of stable apprentice Vincent Ho Chak-yiu's important seven-pound claim.
The Caspar Fownes-trained four-year-old led before weakening for eighth last time out over the Sha Tin mile under Gerald Mosse, but had only gone under by a short head to recent Class Three winner Ho Ho Life when guided by Ho a run earlier over this course and distance.
The son of Clangalang should be hard to keep out of the finish from gate four, while well-rated Super Genki is a worthy double banker as he has been showing spark in his recent runs.
The Tony Cruz-trained six-year-old has proven Happy Valley form over this trip, has gone to the line nicely in five of his past seven starts and is coming off a good fourth over the Sha Tin mile in this grade.
Mings' Hero, Amazing Fortune, Toy Story, Make It and Electronic Master are possible chances.
Good Strike is backing up after a week's rest, but put the writing on the wall with a good neck second behind Glenealy Star over this trip and was also in the frame in four of six earlier runs. He's drawn an ideal gate in five and will be hard to keep out of the calculations in the final leg.
Always Something, Flying Colours, Mi Reilly, Jun Qi and Elite Sixty-Six will likely fight it out for the other two places.