Trialled and tested - Best Fit ready to put best foot forward
The Group One winning combination of Tony Cruz and Gerald Mosse will be hoping to put Best Fit's disappointing last-start performance behind them with a switch to the city track in the opening leg of the Triple Trio tomorrow.
Best Fit was ordered back to the barrier trials by stewards after turning in an unacceptable performance down the Sha Tin straight at his second run, just two weeks after the four-year-old won his debut over the same course.
The stewards' decision to send Best Fit back to the practice jump-outs provides punters with a handy clue that the Cruz-trained horse is back to his former self, as he comfortably followed Sunday's winner Dane Patrol throughout his enforced gallop and appeared to finish off the work in decent fashion.
A good draw is the other huge positive for Best Fit at his Happy Valley debut, and Mosse will be able to bounce to a forward position from barrier five with little difficulty.
Many of his main opponents, such as last-start winner Pillowin (barrier 11), the lightly weighted Megabucks (gate 12) and last-start improver Karbridge (barrier 8), will all need to work for their positions in the run, and, provided Best Fit hops out in smart fashion, he should have first claims on finding the rail and holding his opponents wide.
Cruz and Mosse will most likely try to lead with the speedy son of Iglesia but, with the good draw in their favour, perhaps the pair will decide upon a contingency plan to hold the box seat if others are desperate to hit the front from wider gates.
In either scenario, Best Fit is likely to be in a prime position turning for home and, over the short course at the Valley, that can make all the difference to the final placings.
As touched on above, Pillowin improved markedly with the blinkers on first time last start and rates as Best Fit's biggest threat, despite the wide alley for in-form Greg Cheyne.
Douglas Whyte hops aboard Megabucks for trainer Andy Leung Ting-wah, but yet another wide draw for the horse will make it difficult for him to find a comfortable trail, even with the champion hoop in the irons.
The middle leg appears Kingston Elite's chance to win his first Hong Kong race and, despite his wide draw, a barrier trial win wearing blinkers for the first time was most encouraging.
Trainer Gary Ng Ting-keung will no doubt instruct Eddie Lai Wai-ming to surge to the front from barrier 10 and, with 118 pounds to carry, Kingston Elite will be very hard to peg back once he finds the front.
Unfortunately for Kingston Elite, however, those tactics will play into the hands of one of his main rivals, Ride On The Fire, who has drawn to his immediate outside and may get a lovely cart into the race on the back of the likely front-runner. Caspar Fownes has a record second to none at the city circuit and, with his apprentice Vincent Ho Chak-yiu claiming seven pounds on the topweight, Ride On The Fire cannot be underestimated as a danger if he gets a good trail.
Nearer the bottom of the weights, Hot Pepper, Amazing Choice and Racing Legend all have solid place claims from the middle stalls, while Home With Glory must also be rated one of the chances from barrier one.
The final leg boasts just the nine runners and, although Jimson The Best downright refuses to win a race, he again makes an ideal banker play for punters on the quick back-up.
Jimson The Best has placed second on five occasions, and third four times from his 11-start career and, while connections will be worrying about the five-year-old's will to win, punters can make him a banker with confidence with 116 pounds and Whyte on his back.
Tony Cruz and Gerald Mosse have been a deadly combination at the Valley, boasting a solid winning strike of: 15%