Quantum Power produced a tough effort to finish third to Dispatcher at his latest run, and a similar run from a better draw will see him go very close to winning the middle leg of the HK$2 million Triple Trio at Sha Tin tomorrow.
The Ricky Yiu Poon-fai-trained galloper broke well from a wide gate last start, but was snagged back by Zac Purton, who tried in vain to slot into a position with cover, but was made to drift right back towards the rear of the field.
After dropping to the tail, the pace slackened, and, with Quantum Power full of running underneath him, Purton allowed the gelding to truck around the field and get into the race rounding the bend.
The result was a trip four and five horses wide on the bend without cover, but Quantum Power still travelled strongly and was able to box on to the line to hold third in front of a wall of horses.
From gate two, Purton will be sitting in the box seat, smoking his pipe until they turn for home and, with plenty of extra energy saved for the sprint, Quantum Power can be expected to be a safe banker in the middle leg.
Another lightly raced Buddy Buddies appears a big danger with Brett Prebble replacing the suspended Olivier Doleuze for trainer Michael Chang Chun-wai.
Buddy Buddies missed the start at his last run on February 20, but worked home well along the rail to finish fourth behind Forest Star, who has won again since.
Barrier one is not ideal for this fellow if he is slow out of the gates again, but Prebble will be mindful of that and is sure to have his gelding focussed when starter Tony McGovern climbs his stand.
Lucky Chevalier and Lions' Fortune have also drawn well in three and four and must be considered, while Caspar Fownes' lightly raced Peppermint also warrants attention, despite his awkward draw of 12 for Weichong Marwing.
There are no superstars in the opening leg, and the Derek Cruz-trained Kimberley should pack too many punches for this lot from barrier three with the benefit of apprentice Vincent Ho Chak-yiu seven-pound claim.
Kimberley is one of the few female horses in Hong Kong, and finished third to Watch First with Ho in the saddle last start. While she is no star either, the six-year-old mare has proven she is honest and, from the good draw, should be in a winning position when they enter the straight without having used much gas.
Rocket And Gold and Divine Kid are usual suspects in the bottom grade, while Wadasurprise and Danesouth are also capable of bouncing off the ratings floor.
The final leg appears a good race for Dispatcher to build upon his success, but perhaps a horse he conquered last time can turn the tables on the boom galloper from the John Size yard.
The Manfred Man Ka-leung-trained Marvel Plus finished 1?lengths behind Dispatcher in eighth position over this course last start but, with a couple of key gear changes and a postage-stamp weight on his back, the Charge Forward gelding might be able to spring an upset on the likely favourite.
From gate 13, apprentice Keith Yeung Ming-lun will need some early luck but, with a long run to the turn, should have ample opportunity to slot in if Marvel Plus jumps better than he did last time.
Clement Spirit, Soldier and Good Gains will all provide testing opposition but, with the best part of 20 pounds less to carry, Marvel Plus might be worth including in trio combinations for those who like to include a knockout chance. At 111 pounds, Polygold also makes bold appeal for his significant weight advantage, and Dispatcher with 131 pounds will need to be at his best to hold the bottom-weights out at the finish.