Barrier four could hold the key to the HK$28 million Triple Trio fortune at Happy Valley tomorrow night, with three likely banker plays in High Return, Let's Goal and Best Win all drawing that gate in their respective races.
All three runners are in top form and should get a great opportunity to convert from the ideal starting position, with Dennis Yip Chor-hong's High Return set to get the ball rolling in the opening leg - the Min Fat Handicap (1,200m).
Those looking for lucky omens might note the horse is also number four in race four, but there is more solid foundation for making High Return a banker.
High Return is knocking on the door of a third victory after a solid half-length third to Make It on May 18, and a sharp track gallop with stablemate Same Same last Friday with Howard Cheng Yue-tin in the irons. The five-year-old himself is no world beater, but he will be ultra competitive in what is certainly not an international Group One, and punters can take heart from his good place record of 10 top-three finishes from 30 starts.
The good draw seals the deal, and Cheng will be looking to make the most of that advantage by slotting the horse behind the speed, one or two pairs behind the leaders.
Outside of High Return, the trio play becomes far trickier, but respect must be given to topweight Master Key, to be ridden by Brett Prebble from gate six.
The David Hall-trained runner comes off a 1,400m third at Sha Tin behind Dragon Victory at just his second start for the trainer and the decision to drop him back to 1,200m makes appeal.
Newcomer Twin Turbo showed early toe to win a trial at Happy Valley, but Zac Purton will need to be sharp to bounce the Me Tsui Yu-sak-trained runner to the front from gate 10 on debut.
Sammy's Falcon has also drawn poorly in gate 12, but remains a place chance on top form despite that disadvantage, and is hard to rule out completely.
The Tony Cruz-trained Let's Goal is a major chance in the middle leg after two strong second placings at Sha Tin over the mile.
The Encosta De Lago colt has shown good improvement, and his first and only performance at Happy Valley (10th on May 4) can be overlooked now he has a few better runs under his belt.
Let's Goal's last-start second, two lengths behind Super Bobo, was strong enough to be a winning performance in this race and, from gate four, Matthew Chadwick should find a top position from which to launch into the straight.
Three last-start winners, Gilded Flight (gate seven), Private Road (nine), and Dynamic Cross (10) have all drawn to his outside, but it is the Danny Shum Chap-shing-trained En Masse that poses Let's Goal's biggest danger.
En Masse will sport blinkers for the first time and, with Darren Beadman doing the steering from gate two, the Court Of Jewels gelding must be respected.
The final leg could well see Caspar Fownes' gate four runner, Best Win, figure prominently again on the strength of his resuming win over 1,200m.
The good draw will allow apprentice Vincent Ho Chak-yiu to take a prominent position behind the pace-setters, or lead if the tempo is not too fierce.
Charity Spirit (Keith Yeung Ming-lun) is likely to burst forward early from gate 11, Golden Bauhinia (Purton) is a fast beginner and is likely to jump and run with First In Command (Beadman) immediately inside Best Win, and the tempo should be strong enough to allow Ho to slot back in for cover.
The mouth-watering amount, in HK$, that tomorrow night's Triple Trio is expected to reach