Ambitious Owner can kick-start TT in style
Maxime Guyon will be in the hot seat when he reunites with Ambitious Dragon at Sha Tin on Sunday, but he will get a chance to warm up earlier in the day on the superstar's less illustrious stablemate Ambitious Owner.
Ambitious Owner is a world away from the reigning Horse of the Year in class, but he represents the best banking option in a Class Four handicap (1,400m) - the opening leg of a Triple Trio which is tipped to reach a HK$8 million pay out courtesy of a HK$4 million-plus jackpot.
It's the French jockey's first day back and he will need to be on his game to get the back marker first past the post, with an unsuitable dawdle up front expected. The lack of speed is the biggest concern for the Tony Millard-trained horse, who has produced some flashy finishing sectionals at his last two starts.
Getting as far back as he has recently will be deadly, with a complete dearth of front-runners likely to make life difficult for those looking to sit-and-sprint.
Solar Boy could be the horse to get the breaks - a sole lead seems a distinct possibility and he should be prominent in selections.
Consider a pair of second-starters who both seem to be screaming out for the 1,400m - Right Timing and Tarrega.
Both were solid on debut over 1,200m and Tarrega in particular - a burly-looking type form the David Hall yard - would have benefited from the run.
Chancellor is weighted to his best in this grade, but can be forgiven for a last-start failure and can be included.
The first leg might have no speed, but the middle pin more than makes up for it with a heap of horses that will get on the bit and create a fast-run race.
Real Supreme is coming off a superb four-win season and resumes off two good trials. The speed helps and so does the ideal barrier (three). Lock him in as a banker.
He's not the highest-rating runner, but Fatboy Sugar is the one that could get the run of the race. Seven days ago he was caught three and four deep, chasing the whole way from a wide gate, but still managed fourth.
He won't have the same problem this time from gate two.
Regency Luck has drawn wide, but needs to be put in on ability alone.
Genki Moochi is another drawn wide (10), but seems ready for the step up to 1,200m. Super Goodies can threaten first time in Class Three with a light weight. The TT is usually the domain of Class Three, Four and Five races - but on Sunday punters can sort through the Group Two Jockey Club Sprint - where Danny Shum Chap-shing's Little Bridge looms as an enticing banker.
After an four-win season where Shum tried to stretch the Group Three winner to the Derby - which resulted in a 45-length last - the trainer has wisely kept the brilliant mover to the short courses.
He was runner-up in the Chief Executive's Cup on the first day of the season, then copped some serious roadblocks over 1,000m in the Sha Tin Sprint Trophy and was nabbed on the line by 63-1 shot Rich Unicorn in the Premier Bowl. Gerald Mosse replaces Zac Purton and gets an ideal gate in five.
Entrapment's unbeaten bubble burst in the Premier Bowl, but he did little wrong and will be suited by level weights.
The new horse on the scene who could provide value is Admiration - one of four runners from the John Moore yard. Stable jockey Darren Beadman elected to ride the four-year-old, who showed he wasn't out of his depth in this company with a closing fifth in the Premier Bowl over a too-short 1,000m.
He subsequently made a Class Four dirt race look like a highly-paid barrier trial. He is the one on the way up and the bonus is gate two.
In-form veteran Joy And Fun is also suited by the set-weight conditions, but gets the widest gate (11).