Euro Swiftly ready to put best foot forward again at Happy Valley
Old stager has a great opportunity to get back into the winner's circle and help Triple Trio players chasing a pool expected to reach HK$9 million
A low draw in a race full of deadwood - plus the Joao Moreira factor - makes Euro Swiftly the best banker in the middle leg of Wednesday night's jackpot-infused Triple Trio at Happy Valley.
The first thing you might notice about Euro Swiftly is that he has not won in nearly 20 months, which might be alarming had he not dropped a massive 34 points in the ratings and down into the middle of Class Four.
It was not that long ago - April last year - that Manfred Man Ka-leung's eight-year-old finished three lengths behind Helene Spirit and Military Attack in an extended band Class One over Wednesday night's course and distance.
Since then, Helene Spirit and Military Attack have gone on to bigger things, each notching Group race victories, but Euro Swiftly has struggled, as the severe ratings drop would indicate.
The wear and tear on his front fetlocks after 63 starts is starting to tell, but his last three runs in the grade, including two this term, have been sound efforts.
There looks to be another win in the old stager, and when it comes there is little doubt it will be over the 1,650m in the city, with a good draw and in Class Four - four of the gelding's five wins have been over the course and distance.
The key is barrier three, from where Moreira can find a one-off spot, possibly a touch closer than midfield given what looks a lack of speed in the race. Moreira had a tough initiation on Sunday, but broke through in the last and will be hungry to repay the early faith owners and trainers are showing in him.
Blossom Daily (Zac Purton) drops in grade and gets gate two, from where he could get an easy lead. He goes in, as does the badly drawn Master Gunner (Douglas Whyte), another eight-year-old with creaky legs whose rating has dropped to a dangerous level. After that it is slim pickings. Diligent III (Eddy Lai Wai-ming) is the only other runner with decent form, but he has drawn 10.
The TT carries a HK$4.5 million jackpot and it kicks off with a competitive Class Four over 1,200 metres, where Moreira also gets on a possible banker drawn in barrier three: Mr Award.
The Peter Ho Leung-trained five-year-old has won four times at the track - all over this trip - and while there are many chances, the draw and solid lead-up run make Mr Award the safest pick.
A first-up third over 1,000m when getting to the line well after box-seating will have him ready for a step up to his favourite trip.
Three others to include are King Derby - drawn four with Purton back aboard - True Courage (Karis Teetan) from gate one, and the in-form and well-handicapped Sight Lover (Tye Angland).
Two to be wary of are El Grande (Vincent Ho Chak-yiu) - with blinkers off after an outpaced sixth up the Sha Tin straight - and Both Fortune (Olivier Doleuze), with blinkers on and well prepped at the trials for his seasonal return.
In the final leg, Moreira might be the man again on Turbo Jewellery - the Magic Man's first ride for master trainer John Size - but he has to navigate from gate 12 in the 1,650m Class Three.
Turbo Jewellery looks likely to leap into Class Two sooner than most of his rivals. Also include Great Charm (Derek Leung Ka-chun), Cool Bean (Teetan) and Amazingly (David Ferraris).