Sunrise primed to light up the night
The four next to Sunrise's name in the form guide will correctly signify his finishing position behind Lucky Warrior last start, but the number doesn't begin to describe the impossible task Dennis Yip Chor-hong's horse was set when he was beaten a head in a blanket finish.
Back over the same course and distance for the fourth straight occasion, and with the incomparable Douglas Whyte to take the reins, Sunrise stands out as a banker in the final leg of tomorrow night's Triple Trio at Happy Valley.
Sunrise had run second twice over the extended mile in Class Three, before he drew six two weeks back and was sent out 3-1 favourite with Gerald Mosse aboard. The seven-year-old was never better than three-wide with no cover for the entire trip, but still managed to find enough to mount a challenge and even hit the front for the briefest of moments in the straight. It would have been a race-winning effort on most occasions, and given any sort of luck from the same gate this time, he can win his fifth race at start number 37.
It's not a deep field, the Andreas Schutz-trained six-year-old Upgrading (Mosse) is the probably the biggest danger and can be considered as a second banker. He never got a crack last start, but had been performing well previously and his two wins were over the course and distance.
Zac Purton is likely to roll the dice again and surge forward from a wide draw (10) on Horse Aplenty, who was some ability, while Heart Wood (Alvin Ng Ka-chun), Winning Boy (Tim Clark) and Enthusing (Olivier Doleuze) have place claims.
The opening leg sees Easy Gold (Doleuze) chasing his sixth win for the term, and a low draw over what might be his best trip (1,800m) make him hard to resist as a banker.
Gibson has taken Easy Gold from a rating of 23 to 60, so he is now lumping top weight in Class Four, but the way he won over the course and distance last start made you wonder whether his trainer had been keeping the longer journeys up his sleeve.
Easy Gold can stay the trip, but has the tactical speed to take up a position, too, something Doleuze should be able to do from gate four.
It is a tough race though, with Easy Gold conceding weight to a host of in-form horses. Two of those are drawn wide, with Ho Wongchoy (Whyte) and Compact Yarn (Andreas Suborics), who has finished runner-up four straight times over the course and distance, in gates 10 and 12 respectively. They both like to race handy, so that could create some speed.
Healthy Manner (Mosse) goes in, as he returns to his best distance and gets barrier one. Also consider Mount Victory (Purton) and Telecom Supremo (Howard Cheng Yue-tin).
In the middle pin, Dr Super (Whyte) will be sent out near the top of betting after the giant gelding's stunning Valley debut last start.
The John Size-trained three-year-old weighs in at over 1,300pounds and needs to find the rail and get into rhythm for him to dictate terms, as he did last time out.
He won't get things his way this time and steer clear of him as a banker, with Whyte set to navigate a path from gate eight with plenty of speed drawn below him.
Drawn one is Michael Chang Chun-wai's impressive sprinter Ultimate Winners (Brett Prebble) and he goes in as a banker. While jumping from pole over 1,200m at the city track is gold, barrier one is poison up the straight at Sha Tin, and it contributed to the four-year-old's career-worst run last start when he was stranded in the centre of the track.
Before that he put together four solid straight-track efforts, and his November trial over 1,000m at the Valley suggest he'll handle this task.
Dr Super should still be included, but also consider My Goal (Mark du Plessis) and Mr Vigorous (Ben So Tik-hung).
$3.37m The amount, in HK dollars, Sunrise has collected for his connections from 36 starts