Stayers the key in Triple Trio opener
Suisse D'Or and Compact Yarn fought a titanic tussle two months ago and, a contest devoid of speed, can provide a platform for the pair to reprise their thrilling duel tomorrow night at Happy Valley, with the stayers standing out as double bankers in the opening leg of the Triple Trio.
The 1,800m trip at the city track is the same circuit the pair finished one-two over in December, with the rail even in the same 'B' position as when Suisse D'Or fought off Compact Yarn by a head after being challenged right to the line.
The pair had been around a while without making an impact, but it was a change to more positive riding tactics that brought out the best in both of them.
Suisse D'Or was none from 22 before Andreas Schutz removed all head gear and instructed jockeys to fire forward, with immediate effect. The six-year-old scored on the dirt and has since added two more seconds and the last Happy Valley win.
Tye Angland takes the ride and, from gate seven, should be able to get his own way in front, with no noted pacemakers drawn inside or out.
Right on his hammer will be Rickey You Poon-fai's Compact Yarn, who will be meeting his rival slightly better at the weights with Neil Callan getting the advantage at the draw, jumping from five. The five-year-old lacks a killer punch at the end of a race, but has been consistent enough to run three consecutive seconds, beaten a head twice and then half-a-length, and he should be in the finish again.
With both horses able to run the trip and no foreseeable pressure it should be between them again.
Next in is Mount Victory (Zac Purton), who has been slightly disappointing, but maybe a change to Paul O'Sullivan's stable and barrier three can turn things around.
Industrial Legend (Mark du Plessis) has won his way back into Class Four, where he found it too hard previously, but might have returned a better horse and gets a nice gate (four) and light weight (116 pounds). He can race handy and could, too, benefit from a soft tempo.
Amazing Journey (Brett Prebble) is an option. He plugs away and gets to this trip for the first time at his 46th start, but he might be suited to it now and has drawn one.
Full Spirit (Gerald Mosse) was off the bit a long way from home last start, but still finished second, and he can be considered.
The TT carries a jackpot of HK$1.3 million and deciphering the middle pin could be the key to claiming the major prize, with a Class Three over 1,200m a tough one to sort out.
Prebble reunites with Tony Millard's Lucky Record after the pair scored an impressive early season win. The four-year-old was then an inexplicable failure at his next start, before bouncing back with a come-from-behind win. The inconsistency is a worry, but he seems like the horse on the way up and can act as a banker.
Also include top weight All Victory (Mosse), who could get a soft lead from barrier four, while blinkers and a drop in distance could do the trick for Kick Serve (Jeff Lloyd).
Veteran Chater Power (Tim Clark) has been in decent form and is always capable of an upset at this track.
In the final leg, another Class Three, this time over 1,800m, the John Size-trained Delta Hedge (Douglas Whyte) provides the best individual banker of the three races, even though he is stepping up in distance for the first time.
The four-year-old won impressively in the grade over the extended mile two starts back, and was then beaten narrowly over 1,400m at Sha Tin. Trust that Size has pulled the right rein in choosing this race.
Also include Fun Heroes (Callan), who is in best form and Let's Goal (Matthew Chadwick) with his light weight (114) and a low draw (two).
Others with claims are Jun Hua (Terry Wong Chi-wai) and Owners' Glory (Darren Beadman).
The John Size-trained Delta Hedge provides the best individual banker of the three races, even though he is stepping up in distance for the first time