Double bankers look like way to go in TT
Taking a risk and playing a double banker in the opening two legs of tomorrow night's Triple Trio, including a couple of rides for in-form Gerald Mosse, can help snare the lions' share of an expected HK$4 million dividend.
Mosse will bring the momentum of a Sha Tin double on Sunday to the city track and opens up the TT with a ride on Richard Gibson's rejuvenated miler Great Renown in a Class Three.
Great Renown came to Gibson as a winless six-year-old with 15 starts behind him, but delivered the Englishman his first Hong Kong win first-up.
He has yet to put in a bad run, with another win and two runner-up efforts. All have been over the Valley's extended mile and, from gate seven, he will be hard to beat.
Second banker is the Ricky Yiu Poon-fai-trained Plentiful, with another in-form jockey in the saddle - Zac Purton.
Purton rode a treble on Sunday to move into outright second in the jockeys' standings and will head back from gate eight, possibly looking for cover behind Great Renown.
Plentiful hasn't been beyond 1,400m, but his remarkably consistent recent record at that trip and his relaxed style suggest he will run the distance.
Since finishing eighth with a heart irregularity this time last year, Plentiful has four seconds, two thirds and a fourth in seven straight runs at 1,400m.
Offsetting the fact he has only been to Happy Valley once, a long-priced failure at his second start, is an impressive December 16 barrier trial at the track where he cornered well and steamed home under a strong hold.
Adding confidence is the application of blinkers for the first time, to coincide with a return to the tighter circuit, and two eye-catching runs this season. First up, it took subsequent two-time Class Two winner New Vision to beat him, and at last start, he was way back at the 300m and stormed home in tidy sectionals to snatch third.
Along with the two bankers, David Hall's lightly-weighted Jun Hua (Terry Wong Chi-wai) could give some cheek in front and should be included.
Kick Serve (Jeff Lloyd) and Always Something (Tye Angland) will both need luck, but are place chances.
The middle pin, a Class Three over 1,200m, offers the chance to double bank again, leading with Mosse's ride, Danewin Winning.
The Tony Cruz-trained sprinter has been consistent at both 1,000m and 1,200m in his first season, with all seven of his runs at Happy Valley.
The key is barrier one. He seems a better horse ridden on the speed, but has found himself midfield at his last two runs because of bad draws.
The other banker is John Size's Mentor (Darren Beadman), coming off a solid effort when beaten as favourite at Sha Tin last time out.
Before that he was two-from-two, his first win a surprising performance over 1,000m at Sha Tin and the following an untapped stroll over 1,200m.
Both runs indicate a readiness for Happy Valley the first time. He seems nippy enough to take advantage of the gate and classy enough to win his way out of the grade soon.
The place dangers can also be kept narrow, with Green Zone (Vincent Ho Chak-yiu) and Chater Power (Lloyd), always lurking over this course and distance, to be thrown in.
The final leg, a rare 2,200m race in Class Three, is where more selections are needed on the ticket and the first marked is the Yiu-trained Fun Heroes (Neil Callan).
He carries the best form into the race and, despite the tricky draw, looks ready-made for the trip. He has never stepped beyond 1,800m.
Next two options are another two at their first try beyond 10 furlongs - Goodview Successor (Purton) and Let's Goal (Wong).
Other chances are Owners' Glory (Beadman), course specialist Victory Mascot (Jacky Chi-Kit) and Hollywood Kiss (Howard Cheng Yue-tin).
The winning strike rate for Gerald Mosse, who has claimed 14 wins from 159 rides