Peppermint can add zest for Triple Trio followers
Punters will need to shoot wide to nail a difficult looking Triple Trio at Sha Tin tomorrow, but they can confidently bank on the Caspar Fownes-trained Peppermint to deliver the goods in the opening leg of the estimated HK$2 million pool.
With a disappointing four-horse griffin event to pad-out an 11-race card, the TT will be conducted over races five to seven and, after punters get the minimum odds of $11 for every $10 bet about the favourite Bear Hero in the opener, the TT can make up for that and ensure winning tickets are rewarded handsomely.
Peppermint looks the standout anchor for combinations in the first leg, and Fownes has decided to make a bird of it by giving the gun-ride to his apprentice Vincent Ho Chak-yiu, who will claim seven pounds from the top weight of 133 assigned to the last-start winner.
Fownes combined with Brett Prebble to pinch a narrow win over 1,600m last start, but both trainer and jockey thought the three-year-old would be better suited dropping back to the 1,400m after that performance.
That is exactly what Fownes has done in entering the horse in the Kowloon Cricket Club Centenary Cup and the astute trainer would have been grinning from ear to ear when the computer drew out gate four for his charge.
From there, Ho should be able to get a beautiful-trail midfield or a little further back, and will only have to worry about getting to the outside to unleash Peppermint's good turn of foot once into the straight.
Sohna has been a great TT horse throughout his career, but has been run over unusual distances and given unusual rides since joining the Ricky Yiu Poon-fai camp five starts ago.
Yiu has finally reverted to entering Sohna over his pet trip of 1,400m and the key booking of Zac Purton is crucial to the horse's chances, as is the good draw in barrier five.
Purton can tag Peppermint's every move through the run and, back at a winning level in the ratings, Sohna must be included in the combinations, given his record of 24 minor placings from 66 starts.
Sharema Feeling steps up to the seven furlongs for the first time and should not be treated lightly after an unlucky, but determined effort last start when fifth to Happy Forever. Jeff Lloyd failed to get his first choice run up the rails and the horse lost momentum in switching back around heels to produce his grinding sprint.
The extra distance looks a natural progression for the Shamardal three-year-old, and new jockey Weichong Marwing will most likely press forward from an awkward gate nine to take up an early position near the lead. Istide, Grandfield and King On Earth should also be given consideration.
The middle leg sees a bizarre rating band of 60-35 horses go head to head over 2,200m in what is effectively a merged Class Four and Class Five event.
Douglas Whyte's last-start Class Five winner, Storm's Destiny, appears the main beneficiary of the circumstances, and meets only five horses with higher ratings and will carry 117 pounds after an impressive win on the dirt after shouldering 131 pounds.
The Derek Cruz-trained runner is not as well suited on the turf but loves the longer trips and should go close to winning this with no weight on his back.
Fellow last-start Class Five victors Wadasurprise and Breaking Point find themselves in the same boat and should also prove competitive, while topweights Goldmen Y Y, Pegasus Supreme and Solar Wonder will be hoping for an easy kill against opposition rated inferior.
Vincent Ho and Caspar Fownes have partnered 51 times at Sha Tin for a winning strike rate of: 4%