Champagne day IS on cards for TT punters
A freshen up, drop back in distance and the addition of blinkers could see Champagne Days salute again for trainer Michael Chang Chun-wai and jockey Weichong Marwing in the final leg of tomorrow's HK$6 million Triple Trio at Sha Tin.
Marwing partnered the four-year-old to his only success over a mile on December 19, and is reunited with the Encosta De Lago gelding in ideal circumstances from an inside draw.
The freshen-up will ensure Champagne Days has the dash to outsprint his rivals, and he will relish the faster tempo of the 1,400m journey, and wearing blinkers rather than side winkers. Besides having a number of positives next to his name on paper, Champagne Days has the ability to travel behind the speed and should make great use of his draw - a huge bonus for punters looking to make him a banker in the Partnering For Community Needs Handicap.
Last-start winner Scent Of Osmanthus will take some beating for in-form trainer Me Tsui Yu-sak, but Howard Cheng Yue-tin will have a trickier time negotiating a good passage from gate 10, which takes some of the gloss off the Stravinsky gelding's prospects as a banker.
Lucky Chevalier looks a bold chance from a good draw in gate two, but should be taken on trust as he has looked likely to figure in a number of his past outings, but has managed only one top-three finish in eight starts.
Perhaps the in-form Jeff Lloyd can extract the best from the David Ferraris-trained three-year-old and lift the son of Lucky Owners to a breakthrough win, but it is hard to rely on the horse in a banker role in the meantime.
John Moore and Darren Beadman combine with Panna, who finished seventh from gate 14 last start and will strip fitter after four runs for the stable, who are hunting down premiership leader Tony Cruz, who has Bold Tack in the race.
Expect a more forward showing from Moore's well-bred son of High Chaparral, with Beadman likely to look for midfield cover on Panna from gate eight, rather than resort to sitting at the rear.
The middle leg appears a good opportunity for Tye Angland to continue his great comeback from injury on the Peter Ng Bik-kuen-trained Watch First.
Watch First ran a last-start fifth for Angland behind Super Horse, who carries topweight for Olivier Doleuze and meets Watch First six pounds worse at the weights.
The Ng-trained runner can turn the tables on the topweight with the swing at the weights, and should get every opportunity from barrier three.
Super Horse will take a power of beating, however, and brave punters can consider a double banker play with the Chang-trained last-start winner if confident the horse will get another sweet journey in the lead.
The Cruz-trained Great Guy may not allow that to happen easily from his inside draw.
A number of top three chances in the race make it a difficult leg to narrow down, and Dragon Victory, Sohna, lightly weighted Treasure Glitter (106 pounds) and Dividend Champion all have minor claims.
Moore's Danehill Dancer gelding Sunny More looks to have bold claims in the opening event for Alvin Ng Ka-chun, who shaves 10 pounds of his mount's 133-pound impost, and will give a cheeky sight from gate five.
Expect the pair to position themselves just behind the early speed horses, before whipping out on the home turn to make full use of the weight claim.
Prize money Champagne Days has earned from one win and five places in 12 starts