Impressive Costa Del Sol is a hot property for TT fans
Costa Del Sol turned in one of the best debuts of the season with his impressive win at Sha Tin, and Dennis Yip Chor-hong's galloper looks an ideal banker for Sunday's Triple Trio with Douglas Whyte in the saddle.
Despite being hammered with a nine-point rating increase for his first performance over 1,200 metres, Costa Del Sol looks even more attractively placed in the 1,400m Boat Quay Handicap than he did on debut.
The long-striding son of General Nediym was severely hampered at the first turn, and could have been excused for throwing in the towel after a fellow debutant broke down and almost ran him off the track.
Instead, Costa Del Sol picked himself off the canvas and began punching his way back into the contest, making up a number of lengths around the bend under the urgings of Whyte to tack onto the front half of the field, who had all been ahead of that earlier mishap and enjoyed a trouble-free trip.
There was still plenty of work to do to catch the leaders, Eternal Beauty and Hawthorne, who batted on to take the minor placings - and have since fought out a finish over the straight course - but Costa Del Sol had built up a head of steam entering the straight and was able to gobble them up over the final 50m.
Everything about that win screamed he would be looking for further and Yip has found a beautiful race for him to progress through this grade and up to the mile. Punters cannot expect another luxurious price of 24-1, but Costa Del Sol looks the one to bank on.
The David Hall-trained Breeze Of Luck could be a light-weight danger to the favourite and, with apprentice Derek Leung Ka-chun claiming another five pounds off his 119 handicap, the horse is placed to great advantage for his second attempt at 1,400m.
Brett Prebble piloted the three-year-old at his first two runs - being out-paced on debut down the straight, before a grinding sixth last start, 1 1/2 lengths behind Dispatcher.
Prebble has elected to hop aboard Fionn's Dragon, who must also be entertained by punters, but has surely burned off even his most ardent win supporters. Fionn's Dragon's statistic of six placings to his single win gives a good indication of what punters can expect if the Danny Shum Chap-shing-trained gelding eyeballs the front at any stage in the straight.
Supreme Knight and Fierce Force can also be entertained as minor players, although tactics may prove crucial for both runners who have drawn awkwardly in gates eight and 13 respectively.
The middle leg is far more competitive and punters are spoilt for choice for good banker plays, so much so they may lose the forest for the trees.
Prebble's mount, Supreme Winner, ran a top race on debut, but has drawn awkwardly and may already be looking for further. Elusive Prince is yet to hit his straps for trainer John Size, but has drawn beautifully in gate three and cannot be dismissed easily.
Shareema Feeling was disappointing on debut up the straight after some handy barrier trials, but will appreciate the step up in trip and should get a cosy run from gate five with Weichong Marwing in the irons.
Good Looking Watch, Ming Hoi Glory and Tomodachi also have bold claims, and make the task of narrowing down the middle leg even harder.
The opener looks a good chance for the topweights to assert their class and leave the handicappers with a warm, fuzzy feeling inside, as Champagne Days, Finezza and Mings Hero can finish in the trio.