Plenty of Fortune awaits TT punters
A strong barrier trial on the dirt from the John Size-trained Fortune General will give plenty of confidence to Triple Trio players wishing to make the horse a banker in the central leg of Sunday's HK$4.8 million jackpot pool.
The resuming Douglas Whyte has an outstanding book of rides and will count Fortune General among the best of them after partnering the gelding in his trial second behind Electronic Motion 11 days ago.
Fortune General has already shown a liking for the dirt, but that looks set to turn into a full-blown love affair after Sunday with the Johannesburg gelding set to claim his second victory and first on the all-weather-track.
Whyte sat motionless as Fortune General cruised impressively into the trial after sitting deep throughout the early stages, and a similar performance will make the pair extremely hard to beat.
The one factor that might have brought the combination undone could have been the vagaries of the dirt-track bias, but even that concern will be nullified by the ideal draw, with Whyte able to pick his exact spot in the field from gate three.
Early tempo looks assured to be set by the likes of topweights My Whisky and Bet On Me, and Whyte will have plenty of time to slot into the one-out, one-back position to the outside of major danger Darpana, who has drawn the rail.
Har Har Charms is a big chance of getting posted without cover to his outside from gate 11, and Five Clubs is likely to take a sit a pair further back, allowing Whyte complete control of not only his mount's chances, but his rivals' too.
The opening leg - which begins at race five because of the 11-meeting card - also provides the Dream Team, Size and Whyte, with a terrific chance to add further to their already healthy win totals for the season.
The pair are showing no signs of slowing down, with promising youngster John Dory also poised to claim a late-season win in the Piaget Handicap (1,400m).
John Dory ran a solid race to finish 13/4 lengths behind Mochi over this distance on June 5, and this event looks a natural choice for the son of Commands.
Again, Whyte has been blessed with a nice draw in gate seven and, with the decent run to the turn, should get John Dory into 'position A' in the run.
The likely dangers to John Dory, who looks a solid top-three proposition and can be confidently made a banker by punters, appear in the shapes of the lightly weighted Prince Of Sunshine, and the recently transferred China Dragon.
China Dragon has been shifted to trainer Ricky Yiu Poon-fai after previously racing with both David Hall and Sean Woods in his 15-start career.
The gelding has shown little this term, barring his storming third to Dr Win in January under Hall, but as so often is the case after a stable transfer, the horse's trackwork has picked up significantly.
Prince Of Sunshine has been progressing towards a winning performance in his runs lately, and gets top jockey Jeff Lloyd in the saddle from barrier eight.
Lloyd will be well aware his biggest threat is drawn to the inside and will no doubt tag Whyte through the race, hoping to drop off his shoulder late to pinch victory.
The final leg leaves punters spoiled for choice, but it is hard to ignore the claims of Quantum Power as a banker play for Yiu and Zac Purton.
Quantum Power was impressive in claiming his last two starts, and resumes from a nice break of more than six weeks, ready to convert the hat-trick.
Winning strike rate looks impressive for dominant duo John Size and Douglas Whyte