Red-hot Prebble can clean up on the dirt
After a slow start to the season, Brett Prebble is on a roll and the Australian's rides can form the foundation of a dirt track Triple Trio at Sha Tin tomorrow night.
The mid-week fixture shifts to Sha Tin with all eight races to be held on the all-weather track and each of Prebble's rides have significant claims.
Prebble skipped the opening day to ride Lucky Nine in Japan and has already sat out a two-meeting ban for careless riding. But he has still managed to draw level with fierce-rival Douglas Whyte on 11 wins, a treble on Sunday at Sha Tin helping his cause and taking him to 11 victories.
To grab a piece of the estimated HK$2 million dividend, punters will have to carefully consider form up against proven expertise on the alternative surface.
Of Prebble's mounts with the best record on the dirt is the David Ferraris-trained St Didar, unplaced just twice in 13 dirt tries and entered in a Class Three Handicap (85-60) over 1,200m that forms the middle leg of the TT.
St Didar may have only won twice on the surface, but both of those victories were in this class over this trip and he has a good overall record, despite racing out of his depth last term.
The race lacks depth, so rather than find a banker, maybe play narrow.
Top inclusion is Tony Millard's top-weight Amedeo, dropping way back in grade after taking on some top class speedsters last start at Happy Valley. Amedeo showed he was no slouch out of the gates in the Hong Kong Country Club Challenge Cup (1,000m), keeping pace with Romantic City and Good Boy Boy early.
Vincent Ho Chak-yiu should utilise the five-year-old's gate speed from barrier two and his five-pound claim will help. The chestnut should take some catching and he has won on this track before.
Drawn alongside Amedeo in three and expected to be right on his hammer will be newcomer Po Ching King (Matthew Chadwick).
The Tony Cruz-trained four-year-old has produced four great trials since arriving and importantly, two of them was on this track.
He won on debut in Australia and was then placed in a Group Three before being purchased.
As the horses drawn two and three duel out in front, Darrren Beadman can sneak along the rails from gate one on Sunny Fay. The John Moore-trained three-year-old is first-up and has never raced on the dirt, but trialled sufficiently on the course to feel confident he will handle the ground.
While St Didar revels on the dirt, Prebble's ride in the opening leg, Happy Score, hasn't shown much in two tries and contests a Class Four (1,650m).
If this race was on turf he would be favourite on the strength of barrier one, a heap of speed in the race and a last-start fourth where he found plenty of trouble but still finished off late. Take him on trust and use the market as a guide.
Another to include is Super Caga, who was heavily backed (20s into $4.7) last start at his first try for Richard Gibson. He has placed on the track in the past and the strong support last time out could suggest he has found a new lease of life under Gibson's guidance.
The seven-year-old has good tactical speed and Olivier Doleuze should be able to find cover from gate seven with speed drawn inside and out.
Also consider Mirage R, Best Noodle and Classic Boy.
In the final leg - a Class Three (1,650m) - Prebble partners Flying China, a seven-year-old with above average dirt stats (19 starts, three wins and seven times top four).
He cops gate 14, but he gets back anyway and will be steaming home late.
Chater D'Cat's form was abysmal late last season and he is first-up, but he saves his best for the track with three wins from nine starts. Gerald Mosse will have him handy from gate six and he should figure, while throw in Vigor Delight and Beauty Success.
St Didar may have only won twice on the surface, but both of those victories were in this class
The winning strike rate of Brett Prebble after racking up 11 winners from 61 rides