Buccaneer makes TT banker appeal
An estimated HK$30 million pool for Sunday's Triple Trio should get punters into a ticket filling frenzy, and the winners should be assured a massive payday with no standout chances among the three legs of the exotic.
The Ricky Yiu Poon-fai-trained Buccaneer makes some appeal as a banker in the final leg - the Hong Kong University Alumni Association Centenary Challenge Cup (1,650m) - but much will depend on how the all-weather surface plays in determining his chances from gate four.
New inductee to the senior riding ranks, Derek Leung Ka-chun, will rejoin the horse on whom he won two starts back and, with 110 pounds to carry from a good draw, Buccaneer is likely to have plenty of supporters despite the rise in grade.
The race promises to be run at a genuine tempo, with new apprentice Alvin Ng Ka-chun likely to press forward early to get front-runner Just Fantastic into his preferred position.
Ng won a barrier trial on the horse after leading throughout, but he shouldn't be expecting a stroll in the park from gate 10, with the established jockeys likely to boot up inside him and make him earn the front with the short run to the first turn.
Douglas Whyte will be keen to take a prominent position on Chater D'Cat for trainer David Ferraris and, from gate seven, should be able to slot across into a one-off trail, with many of the inside runners preferring to race off the pace.
Last-start dirt winner Flying China, and the Caspar Fownes-trained Vigor Delight are two of them, and both will drop to near last from the two inside draws under Alex Lai Hoi-wing and Vincent Ho Chak-yiu respectively.
Jimson The Best is a great TT horse and has placed in the top three at 13 of his 15 starts, but Tye Angland will have to be at his best to navigate a winning passage from gate 13 for trainer Denni Yip Chor-hong.
My Home Town is an interesting runner from gate three at his first start for new trainer Derek Cruz, who has shown a real knack for extracting a win from his new stable acquisitions.
Greg Cheyne is sure to give the six-time winner lovely service from the gate, and perhaps the connections will attempt to have the horse closer in the run to take full advantage of the draw.
The opening leg also looks a tricky proposition with many of the better chances on paper drawn wide and needing some early luck to be involved in the finish.
The John Moore-trained Noble Vision has drawn gate 14 and should roll forward early under Leung and 113 pounds, but Whyte on John Dory and Olivier Doleuze on Sunshine Kid will be tagging him across from gates 10 and 11, and if they can slot over into trailing positions, will be hard to hold out at the finish.
The Fownes-trained Potential is an honest on-pacer and will also be looking to slide over from gate 12, giving a peculiar shape to the speed map and making selecting a banker a tough task. Nothing drawn to the inside looks likely to stretch the field out and make it easy for those wide drawn runners to slot in early, so perhaps the fastest out of the outside stalls will be the one to end up with the early lead.
Noble Vision looks the most likely to end up with the roll after racing handy at her first two starts for Moore over 1,200m.
The re-application of side winkers is an interesting move, however, and perhaps Leung will be instructed to be slightly less aggressive on the filly as the new camp test her endurance at seven furlongs for the first time.
-Sunday's Triple Trio is expected to reach a whopping (in HK$)