Fans can Winsome by backing Valley kings
Versatile sprinter Winsome drops down to an ideal gate and can be circled as a banker in the tough middle pin of tomorrow night's jackpot-enhanced Triple Trio at Happy Valley, with the Caspar Fownes-Brett Prebble combination coming into play in all three legs.
With HK$2.9 million sitting in the pool ready to bolster successful players' pockets, Winsome looms as the best bet in a Class Four over 1,200m on a seven-day back-up, after two meritorious runs when encumbered with wide gates at his last two starts.
The Fownes-trained four-year-old has awoken from an early season slumber to begin to fulfil the prose he showed winning a three-year-old maiden in Australia, finishing no worse than fifth at his last five attempts.
Prior to his last two efforts, both honest tries over the course and distance when jumping from gate 11, Winsome benefitted from some surprise tactics from Prebble, who takes the ride again.
After going back at his previous nine starts, Prebble pounced on an opportunity from barrier six to scoot forward, grabbed the rail and held it throughout for a smart two-length victory.
The wide draws at his two previous starts haven't afforded Prebble any options than to go back, although when a run-on third last start he did find cover, but was three pairs back as front-running pair Surfer Boy and Gold Edition got things their own way.
Prebble will be closer this time, with Winsome not having to work as hard from gate two, with a handy position a positive with the rail out in the 'C+3' configuration.
A couple of in-form and genuine veterans - course specialists Brilliant One (Eddie Lai Wai-ming) and Team Work (Olivier Doleuze) - are the biggest dangers.
Brilliant One, who at 10 years of age and with 91 lifetime starts, still has some spring in his step, got home better than Winsome from a similar rearward position at his last start. His chances are pace-dependent though, as he will be last from gate 11 and needing luck.
Team Work, an eight-year-old not far behind Brilliant One with 71 efforts, has notched five straight course and distance placings and has drawn another nice barrier (five).
Danny Chum Chap-shing's Urban Dancer was an upset winner against all three previously mentioned horses at his last start, and has drawn a plum starting position in gate three. Look to him to cross and lead, with Winsome getting the perfect box-seat run.
Playing tight in the middle will allow options in a tough opening leg, a Class Four over 2,200m, where Fownes has gone back to blinkers for Victory Mascot and the six-year-old has drawn gate one.
Fownes and Prebble have combined for seven wins from 55 starts this season and have found the top three 48 per cent of the time.
Boil down the pair's all-time record at the track and distance and you find a 100 per cent place strike rate from nine tries, including three wins - two of those courtesy of Victory Mascot.
Two of the gelding's six wins are over the course and distance and the last one was with the blinkers back on with the rail in the same spot.
Also include improving Kensworth Kid (Umberto Rispoli), who punters latched on to early after his forward turf trials, but now looks like a one-paced stayer and will be strong in the market after running on for third last start.
Others to consider are Healthy Manner (Doleuze), with Shum moving to blinkers to illicit some life, Connoisseur's Pick (Douglas Whyte) and Telecom Gogo (Alex Lai Hoi-wing).
Two back markers who may find the rail position and any lack of speed too difficult are How Wonderful (Matthew Chadwick) and Industrial Legend (Zac Purton), so maybe they are two to risk if trying to narrow things down.
The final leg is another that could have punters in a quandary, a Class Three over the extended mile with no real in-form runners.
Fownes brings Snitzel Kid back to where he races best after a failure at Sha Tin, with Prebble set to navigate from gate 11. He is good enough to figure regardless of the tough gate.
Another returning to his more favoured track is Sunny More (Derek Leung Ka-chun), with the John Moore-trained five-year-old getting the golden gate one.
Bank either Sunny More, or Travel Guide, with Whyte taking over from apprentice Alvin Ng Ka-chun.
Travel Guide is back to the trip where he has gathered all four of his victories and was an eye-catching third when running home in a race run to suit the leaders.
This is the expected Triple Trio amount a lucky punter can collect for a $10 bet