Blinkers and gate give Bobo Dragon the edge
Three-year-old has run some tough races from wide gates and, with a better gate and shades going on, he is the one to bank on in the TT
A better barrier, blinkers, and a hungry and in-form Zac Purton will be the keys for Bobo Dragon to breakthrough and shed his bridesmaid tag in the opening leg of Sunday's Triple Trio at Sha Tin.
Bobo Dragon has finished second in each of his three starts, despite unhelpful draws and doesn't need to improve much against a weak field in a 1,200m Class Four to go one better.
Gates nine, seven and 14 have forced the jockeys' hands tactically on the Manfred Man Ka-leung three-year-old, particularly last start when Purton - having his first ride on the horse - pushed the gelding from the widest gate to sit outside the lead. Bullish Boy (Olivier Doleuze), a rival again, but drawn 13 this time, drew two last time the pair clashed, and got the soft box-seat run.
Bobo Dragon has good gate speed, so from gate three Purton will be able to be where he wants in the run and focus on getting the gelding to settle, not that there is too much wrong with his racing manners.
Bullish Boy has led and always races handy, so there's a chance he could create pressure coming across from his wide gate, drawn directly inside him in 12 is on-pace runner Bear Elite (Andreas Suborics) and Jade Pippo (Eddie Lai Wai-ming) has drawn two.
Throw in Dennis Yip Chor-hong's Fantasy And Gold (Howard Cheng Yue-tin) as he has been given a let-up since a pre-race incident before what would have been his second start saw him flip over and injure himself. Yip has given the four-year-old son of Fastnet Rock four trials since then and he should return a better horse.
Include Bullish Boy and consider a rare John Size-trained filly on debut, Queen Dragon (Douglas Whyte), who has drawn one.
Purton, who now trails Whyte by five wins with 20 meetings remaining in the season, also has the good-looking banker in the middle leg, a 1,200m Class Three, with Mr Ginger.
The Danny Shum Chap-shing-trained four-year-old is similar to Bobo Dragon in that slight improvement should see him figure from a better draw. Mr Ginger has drawn wide at his last two starts at Happy Valley and returns to a track and distance where he notched both of his victories.
The Prince (Vincent Ho Chak-yiu) can still figure, despite drawing widest, and consider Adoration (Whyte), Atacx (Suborics), and Smart Man (Tommy Berry).
The final leg must rank as one of the races of the season; the Group Three Queen Mother Memorial Cup has attracted a quality field from a multitude of formlines heading into one of only three mile-and-a-half features on the calendar.
Mizani (Richard Fourie) looks like being close to favourite and it's hard to argue with that assessment after he has gone three-from-three - including a "wow factor" win at Happy Valley last start - and drew gate two.
But the race is a true handicap has plenty of chances, from those near the limit up to last year's Hong Kong Derby winner Fay Fay (Tye Angland).
Go with a mix of Mizani, Fay Fay, Rainbow Chic (Brett Prebble) and Willie Cazals (Matthew Chadwick). Whyte choosing Autumn Gold over Fay Fay gives him a push, while It Has To Be You (Lai) looks like a horse that will appreciate this trip.