Draw and pace suits tough Elusive Prince
The formidable combination of John Size and Douglas Whyte can deliver punters a safe banker in the middle leg of a tricky Triple Trio at Sha Tin on Sunday in the form of Elusive Prince.
Players looking for the estimated HK$2 million can be assured Size will have his four-year-old up to the mark for the 1,400m Class Four, where he has drawn an ideal gate (three) and should get a race run to suit.
After a maiden season which netted one placing from six starts, Elusive Prince returned with an encouraging second behind Maelstrom two weeks ago. The winner had a soft lead and made it impossible for anything to make ground.
Elusive Prince did run-on, but the pace had conspired against him. Two weeks later he should have no such problems.
Speaking of soft leads, last start Shiny Day walked away with a Class Four at this track and distance. He looks the logical leader from barrier one, but he won't have it as easy in front with 10 more pounds and possible pressure from outside. He should still be included in the top three.
Expect Fortune Together (gate 11), with blinkers back on, and Lucky Nistelrooy (14) to fire out and search forward. It could create a cracking tempo which will allow Whyte to get cover on Elusive Prince and let go when he wants.
Given the expected speed, the blow-out danger is 83-start veteran Happy Master, drawn back in two, who will get the run of the race.
The TT opens with a weak Class Four over 1,600m with obvious chances and leaders thin on the ground.
Drawing one brings Something Special into calculations. He got the same draw and finished second to Ferrabosco over this course last week. Third-up, he is fit and should run a place.
A lack of speed is a concern for many, but Olivier Doleuze could take matters into his own hands on likely race favourite Super Horse and push out from barrier seven.
The fact he can lead alone merits his inclusion in a race seemingly devoid of pace.
Backmarkers Bouncer and Good Thinker, both third-up and suited by the mile, would be right in contention were it not for awful draws. Industrial Hero can be considered, but will also need luck.
As if nailing the opening two legs wasn't hard enough, it closes with an all-weather track contest for Class Three gallopers over 1,200m.
There are two obvious picks: Sky Mascot and Regency Luck. Trouble is, both of them like to run along; throw in What A Heart for nuisance value, and it could create a break-neck speed.
Nevertheless, the two front-runners deserve to be included. Regency Luck showed toughness to win at his third start two weeks ago and Gerald Mosse is the right sort of rider for the hard-going and inexperienced front runner. He will have the gelding relaxed and running his own race.
Sky Mascot has fantastic dirt track stats. He has two wins and has never finished worse than fourth in five starts.
Meanwhile, while those two horses go hammer and tong, Jeff Lloyd will be smoking his pipe on dirt-track specialist Darpana. Drawn one, he will have sight of them as they turn and get his chance.
Another to get the perfect sit will be Ever Beauty. Trainer Derek Cruz has gambled by sending the six-year-old around on this surface and it might have paid off as he drew barrier two. If the leaders do go hell for leather up front, Zac Purton will get the suck run and could figure.
Look out for out-of-favour Ole Ole as he has won twice on the dirt and is the class horse in the race.