Bank on dynamic duo to deliver the goods
Danny Shum Chap-shing and Darren Beadman have proven a formidable combination and the duo feature prominently in the opening two legs of the Happy Valle Triple Trio on Sunday with Iron Hawk and Healthy Manner.
Shum says he only calls Beadman in when he has one that can win and the results show.
The pair have nine wins apiece this term, placing them first and third in their respective championships, but it is when they join forces the statistics start to shine.
Beadman is riding in rare form and making the most of relatively limited opportunities, striking at just under 20 per cent. On Shum's mounts that strike rate more than doubles and he has already ridden four winners.
The Aussie climbs aboard Healthy Manner in a Class Four handicap (1,800m), the middle leg of a TT carrying a HK$1.8 million jackpot and expected to pay around HK$4 million.
Healthy Manner copped a five-pound penalty for his last-start success over this course, but that's offset by drawing two. From there Beadman can use the five-year-old's best attribute, his ability to take up a position early and then relax.
He should get a nice trail as the hard-going grey Billion fires across to lead from a wide gate with Alvin Ng Ka-chun's 10-pound claim.
Finishing just behind Healthy Manner last start was Young Hero and he can be considered as a second banker. He gets in better at the weights this time and has drawn the inside. Both should get a gun run.
Three other options are Billion, Solar Wonder and Bumper Strike.
In the opening leg, Beadman reunites with three-year-old Iron Hawk in a Class Four (1,650m) contest.
Iron Hawk produced some impressive closing sectionals at his fifth start, coming from well back when third at Sha Tin over 1,400m.
Top weight of 133 pounds is a worry, but the fact subsequent winners Rock'N Typhoon and Bouncer came out of the Sha Tin race adds some confidence.
Seriously consider Andy Leung Ting-wah's Home With Glory (Brett Doyle) as a second banker from barrier two. He generally gets back, but he has some speed to make use of the good gate.
A key to the speed of the race is whether any of the three widest drawn runners - Real Dragon, Jolly Wongchoy or Real General - make a play for the front. Had any of the trio drawn low they would be considered top chances.
One horse who would benefit from a solid pace is Panther Run from gate one, and use the betting as a guide to Lucky Chevalier, who has also drawn well in four.
The final leg is a competitive Class Three sprint with a couple of key Private Purchases on debut.
But start with one well-exposed runner. Almond Lee's in-form Happy Yeah Yeah (Gerald Mosse) has to be included after drawing one. From there he can get the same rails run he used to success two starts back at this track over the 1,000m.
Now for the two first-starters - Super Tiger and Friends Of Yan Oi, both of whom come into this off smart trials. The combination of trainer David Hall and jockey Brett Prebble has already proven a winning formula with newcomers this season and Super Tiger comes to Hong Kong having won two from four in Australia. But they were over 1,400m and 1,600m, so he might find this too nippy.
Richard Gibson may have uncovered a good PP in Friends Of Yan Oi, who despite a modest Australian record, trialled beautifully on the turf last week.
It's hard to ignore the claims of Many Gains, while Regency Luck has been impressive but a wide draw (11) has cruelled his chances.