Yim vital piece in Double Trio puzzle
PUNTERS face a particularly tough first leg of the Double Trio at Happy Valley tomorrow night where a local riders' race over the minimum trip is a potential recipe for betting disaster.
Faith may have to be placed in claimer Simon H. K. Yim and sprinter Top Performance but it would be fully understandable if punters had reservations about the suggested banker.
Yim and Top Performance were backed down to a ridiculous even-money quote at Sha Tin last time out and finished just out of the money. If ever there was a false favourite on any Hong Kong racetrack this season it was most certainly Top Performance at his last start.
But he could atone tomorrow night - or at least to the extent of finishing in the first three as he does have fairly solid Happy Valley form and, above all, he has drawn against the rails.
That is going to be a massive asset for supporters of the Wong Tang-ping gelding as he can break quickly and should find no trouble from that vital inside alley.
Top Performance has gone under narrowly in the past over this trip but, more importantly, he has not seen quite as much action as we reach the concluding days of the present season.
Leading trainer Ivan Allan, due to be crowned a very fitting champion on June 5, complicates the issue for punters by starting three in the 10-runner event and a case could probably be made for them all.
Topweight Captive Trick is partnered by maximum claimer Y. S. Wong but has drawn in barrier two. While his preferred trip is the 1,000 metres at Sha Tin, Captive Trick has gone well enough here previously and was certainly not disgraced at his last start when finishing third to Strike It Hot and African Warrior down the straight course.
Horse Delight has drawn barrier three with Stanley K. M. Chin and definitely has valid claims while Frankie F. C. Lor, who has a vital meeting with the Licensing Committee hanging over his head, partners Kevpal, a course and distance winner.
It is well worth noting that the wily Allan has happily provided a stable quinella in similar races in the past . . . and at whopping odds.
African Warrior is also favourably enough drawn (4) and possesses plenty of speed and has maximum claimer Peter W. L. Ho on board.
These local riders' races have gone from being viewed with some disdain to being well accepted - and rightly so. Much of this has to do with the fact that there are now a number of talented apprentices in local racing and it is surely no coincidence that tomorrow night's race sees eight of the 10 runners ridden by claimers.
The second leg of the Double Trio seems more straightforward and a banker readily presents itself in the shape of Sweet Win, to be ridden by John Marshall for trainer David Hill.
This horse has an excellent record over 1,650 metres at the Valley and Marshall is riding in top form at the moment - as yet another weekend double at Sha Tin testified.
Sweet Win is in solid form and it is difficult to see him finishing out of the frame.
Irish import Rambo sprang a major shock last time by winning at big odds but there was a lot of rain about that night and it may have had a distinct bearing on the result. He cannot be totally excluded but a repeat would surprise.
Just Delight, trained by Allan, makes appeal with champion jockey Basil Marcus up. He is well drawn and this would almost certainly be his best trip. He can lay up on the pace and the shorter Valley straight might be just exactly what he is after.
Easy last start winner Men's Pride comes into calculations along with Owner's Dream.