On-fire Whyte's the man to follow in TT
The Peter Ng Bik-kuen-trained Flying Chaparral has been dealt wide gates at both his starts this season, resulting in runs closer to the car park than the rails.
But a perfect barrier and the navigation skills of Douglas Whyte make the five-year-old a bankable proposition in the middle leg of Sunday's Triple Trio at Sha Tin.
Flying Chaparral was a brave first-up fifth over 1,200m, but it was his remarkable effort last start over 1,400m that put the writing on the wall. Howard Chang Yue-tin was never better than four wide and never had cover, yet the gelding had the cheek to keep running on late.
With Whyte aboard, fresh from his four straight winners at Happy Valley on Wednesday night, Flying Chaparral might not remember the inside fence looks like when he jumps from gate two in a Class Four over 1,600m. But the rails is right where he will be and he should be running a place.
The race forms part of a TT worth an estimated HK$6 million to the winners and carrying a jackpot of HK$3.5 million.
Flying Chaparral will benefit from some speed and it seems assured with Let's Goal likely to drive forward along with last-start winner Ferrabosco from his wide barrier.
Those two pacemakers can be considered in a skinny looking contest.
The John Size-trained Prosperity should be rock-hard fit coming back from a 1,800m run and has drawn barrier one, while Dividend Champion and Zephyrus are two others to play around with.
Another Whyte runner coming off a race where he was trapped wide yet still ran on is the Size-trained I Smell Money in the final leg, a Class Three over 1,600m.
I Smell Money did well to run third after a tough run and, this time around from barrier six, Whyte should be able to use the four-year-old's speed - he has led and won previously - to cross the slow beginners drawn inside him. Put him in as banker.
Of the horses drawn low, David Hall's Summer Dash is the one who can make most impression. He was lazy early last start before storming home for third over this course. With Brett Prebble back on, Summer Dash will get the right run.
A second banker prospect can be found in the Caspar Fownes-trained four-year-old Best City. While his last-start winning margin of a short head might not look flash, it didn't tell the full story.
Fownes' enthusiastic post-race reaction was more indicative of the ability of this horse, which is a winning chance.
Jolly Fine can be thrown in a leg to play narrow and save selections for the wide open first leg.
A Class Four (65-40) Handicap (1,400m) acts as TT opener, and the extra five points on top of the ratings bracket has attracted a clutch of Class Three gallopers 'dropping' back in grade.
Perhaps the horse to benefit most from the special conditions is B Choice from the Hall yard. The four-year-old won by 3 1/2 lengths on debut - looking as green as the Sha Tin grass he was racing on - and copped a 12-point ratings rise as a result.
Happy Seven is an option for those looking to bank, while others to look at are Ambitious Owner, Supreme Genki, Always Well and Istide.
The Triple Trio amount that is expected to be paid out at Sha Tin