Winner can strike while the iron is hot
Ricky Yiu Poon-fai will look to strike while the iron is hot on a four-day back-up with Fortune Winner, which appeals as a banker for punters chasing a mammoth Triple Trio at Sha Tin on Sunday.
The TT has gone unclaimed over the first two Sunday's of the season and has jackpotted to a staggering HK$25,854,343.
After a smart victory at Happy Valley on Wednesday night, Fortune Winner (Jeff Lloyd) is entered in a Class Four 1,600m, the middle leg of the TT.
If he handles the quick back-up, he will be right among the leading bunch, given a decent run from gate eight.
Inside him, Brett Doyle should adopt positive tactics on the Sean Woods-trained Mark Good from barrier three, the lightly raced six-year-old is back in grade and his work has been solid. He goes in, along with Caspar Fownes' Private Road (Vincent Ho Chak-yiu), a six-year-old chasing the rare feat three straight Class Four wins. He gets in OK with five pounds off for Ho, but barrier 14 is a problem.
Quantum Express (Zac Purton) should be included after a good trial. He can go forward from a wide barrier (13) and stick, while Baitiwu and Golden Treasure save their best for the dirt.
The opening leg is a weak Class Four Handicap (1,200m), which sees a mix of inexperienced gallopers and horses with a one way ticket down to Class Five.
One horse who at least has upside is the John Size-trained Elusive Prince, and he stands out as a banker prospect.
The gelding showed he had made tremendous improvement from age three to four with a stand-out trial at Sha Tin two weeks ago. He showed good dash early, sat three-deep on the speed and worked solidly to the line under a throttle hold by Douglas Whyte.
This time Tye Angland fills in for Whyte and should be able to chart a path forward from barrier 11 in a race devoid of speed. The penny seemed to drop for the David Ferraris-trained Sharema Feeling (Tim Clark) late last season. He was unlucky to run into smart first starter Aerosa when second at Sha Tin in June. There's no lead-up trials as a guide, but you would expect some natural development.
The only problem for him and a few other backmarkers are the lack of pace. If it's a walk, they'll struggle to chime in late.
Another to settle near the tail will be the Manfred Man Ka-leung-trained Winner Smart. He had a forgettable 2010-11, but trialled well and is reunited with Brett Prebble, who partnered the six-year-old to both of his wins. He gets so far back it would be hard to imagine him winning, but he could sneak a place. Throw in top weight Danewin Tiger.
In the final leg, a Class Four (1,400m) handicap, Iron Hawk drops back a grade after a strong 1,200m trial at Happy Valley three weeks ago. He is a lightly raced three-year-old with plenty of scope to improve.
Another on the up is Michael Chang Chun-wai's Super Horse (Jeff Lloyd), winner of one from four and a beaten favourite last start over 1,600m. Back to 1,400m and from the gun draw, he will fill a placing.
A transfer to the Andreas Schutz yard could bring the best out of Rock'N Typhoon, a five-time winner in France, including a Listed victory over 1,300m. He wasn't far away on the first day of the season and is drawn well for Clark. Play with those three and consider Real General and brilliant last-start winner Amazing Journey as options.
This is the amount Sunday's Triple Trio is expect to reach (in HK dollars)
(1) Great Hero, (5) Epee De Hua, (7) Plot Ratio, (12) Lucky Army.
(1) Chantilly, (5) Cheerful Double, (7) Rain Of Thunder, (9) Fantastic Guy.
(3) Space Race, (6) Stallion Supreme, (8) Lucky Turbo, (10) Share Of Gold.
(6) Elusive Prince, (8) Wasabisabi, (9) Sharema Feeling, (10) Winner Smart.
(4) Quantum Express, (8) Best Noodle, (11) Precision Magic, (14) Mirage R.
(1) Iron Hawk, (3) Amazing Journey, (9) Real General, (12) China Dragon.
(2) Legend Express, (4) Endless Luck, (8) Danzulu, (10) Athenium.
(3) Elite Fortune, (4) Red Lucky Star, (7) Regency Luck, (8) Bet On Me.
(4) Cheer, (6) Voile Rouge, (9) Noble Alpha, (10) Algarve.
(6) Quantum Power, (8) Costa Del Sol, (10) Best City, (12) Supreme Winner.