Two smart sprinters point way to riches
A horse dropping back into a winnable grade over his pet distance and a talented rival being thrown in the deep end make solid double bankers and can form the nucleus of Triple Trio selections at Sha Tin on Sunday.
California Choice and Go Baby Go clash in a high-quality Class Two scramble up the straight and, although they enter the grade from opposite directions, the duo seem a cut above most of their opposition in the anchor leg.
A chunky jackpot of HK$3.4 million awaits punters in the TT pool and an estimated dividend of HK$6 million should attract some healthy action.
Playing tough in the final leg will be necessary to be able to afford picks in legs one and two, with a highly competitive middle pin, in particular, requiring wide selections.
The Tony Cruz-trained California Choice is a stunning-looking sprinter. He hasn't been able to transfer his presence to the racetrack this season, but that has more to do with a lack of options. If you strike the five unplaced efforts beyond 1,000m from his record, you're left with 1,000m Sha Tin form of four from six, with the one unplaced run a two-length fourth behind the then-unbeaten Entrapment. That reads well for a horse who scrapes back into the grade and will carry top weight of 133 pounds, with Matthew Chadwick set to negotiate from gate four.
Getting 12 pounds off the four-year-old is unbeaten Go Baby Go (Douglas Whyte), who has zoomed through the grades with three impressive efforts. The Dennis Yip Chong-hong-trained three-year-old's progress mirrors that of California Choice, who didn't taste defeat until his fifth start. While California Choice was a mature three-year-old specimen, the slightly built Go Baby Go lives up to his name and is still a little fragile mentally.
Options around the pair are Arrived Ahead (Ben So Tik-hung), Charity Spirit (Keith Yeung Ming-lun) and Frederick Engles (Jeff Lloyd).
Brett Prebble has made a remarkable three-week recovery from a broken collarbone to ride Electronic Fortune in the opening leg, an extended-ratings bracket (65-40) Class Four over 1,400m, and makes an ideal banker.
The Manfred Man Ka-leung-trained three-year-old was an impressive winner over 1,200m on debut, but got run off his feet when second to Lifeline Elite over 1,000m last start. It wasn't surprising as the gelding seemed off the bit and chasing at his first start, so the step up to 1,400m and application of side winkers should help.
Drawn one, he should get a lovely run behind Benefactor, who has extraordinary gate speed and gets the luxury of a 10-pound claim from Alvin Ng Ka-chun.
Benefactor goes in, along with Craig's Pride (Neil Callan), who pulled up with an irregular heart rhythm when fancied last start. Others to consider are second-starter Cool Bean (Tye Angland), Dr Win (Whyte) and Clement Spirit (Yeung).
The second leg is the hardest, with smart but immature and inexperienced sprinter Cosmic Boom (Lloyd) sure to be competitive and looking the best banker.
Drawn one, consistent Keen Wongchoy gives Umberto Rispoli his best chance at success and Glory Horsie (Whyte) must be included despite his wide draw, along with Super Goodies (Prebble) and first-starter Rugby Express (Angland).