With a better alley, Super Plus is the one
Drawing single figures can help Super Plus break through for the first time in more than a year and aid punters trying to narrow calculations in a tough Triple Trio at Happy Valley tomorrow night.
After a wide-open first leg, the Peter Ng Bik-kuen-trained sprinter can be counted on as a banker in the middle leg of a TT expected to hit HK$8 million - which includes a HK$4.38 million jackpot.
Super Plus comes into the Class Three 1,000m dash off two brave efforts in this grade where he was trapped three wide facing the breeze.
On both occasions he jumped from wide gates and had no right to be sticking on at the finish. But he did, finishing second and fourth and continuing his sound form from the end of last term.
Ben So Tik-hung gets the seven-year-old in at an attractive 116 pounds, but it is gate four that is the kicker.
With speed drawn inside him, So should be able to slide across to the coveted box seat just behind the pace, sprint at the turn and record the gelding's first win since September last year.
Danewin Winning would have made more appeal had he not drawn the extreme outside. From there, Gerald Mosse may have to try something different on the Tony Cruz-trained galloper, who has been ridden handy at his three starts.
Others to include, despite being drawn unfavourably, are Vintage Hussler and last-start winner Double Luck.
In the final leg, a Class Four over the extended mile, it could be wise to play narrow again to open up options in the first and banker improving Great Renown.
First-term trainer Richard Gibson has already shown a propensity to get the best out of Class Four and Five horses and progress them.
He has managed to win three consecutive Class Fives with Easy Gold and it's not hard to imagine him doing something similar with Great Renown, his first winner.
The six-year-old came to Gibson after 15 starts and off a mark of 51. He copped six points for his first-up victory but still looks better than this grade.
Drawn two with Douglas Whyte, he will get a cosy run just off what could be a solid tempo with numerous no-pace types entered.
Jumping from four is Travel Guide, who has been honest the last two times out. Derek Leung Ka-chun replaces Alvin Ng Ka-chun, who helped the gelding live up to his name by taking him on an extensive tour of Happy Valley's outer reaches at his last three starts. Leung should be able to get him closer to the rail and he can fill a place.
Romancing Tamar keeps getting the benefit of nice barrier draws and has managed it again. From gate three, Brett Prebble will have him handy again and he looks an obvious place threat, while Lucky Chevalier nearly held on last start over this trip and can be considered.
Making it through the opening leg - a Class Four Handicap (1,200m) - will be the challenge. At least seven horses have genuine winning claims and the most unforgiving starting point makes it even harder to sift through the chances.
Perhaps the John Size-trained Gamekeepers looms as the one not to leave out, despite being the only unraced horse in the race. The fact Size has entered a three-year-old at the Valley after three trials is a vote of confidence. The last trial left no doubt Gamekeepers is better than Class Four.
Second pick is Sammy's Falcon, courtesy of drawing the pole. Forget he even went around last start as he was drawn the extreme outside and never got on the track. This time Tye Angland will get the run of the race.
Others with claims but awkwardly drawn are Sharema Feeling (gate nine), El Grande (11) and Oriental Courser (12). Barriers matter over this course, though, and Brilliant One (two) and Assure (three) get the favours.
The number of wins Peter Ng, who is ninth in the trainers' table, has racked up this season