Quick back-up should benefit Flying Keeper
Gelding ran a solid fourth in a 1,000m race dominated by on-pace runners and should relish the step up in trip in first leg of the TT
A quick back-up should help the Caspar Fownes-trained Flying Keeper break a winless streak in a Class Five contest and kick off the Triple Trio as a banker at Sha Tin on Sunday.
Fownes is one of the best at successfully starting horses at consecutive race meetings and Flying Keeper comes into the 1,400m event off an encouraging fourth in a cellar-grade event at Happy Valley on Wednesday night. In a 1,000m race dominated by on-pace runners, Flying Keeper - the 3.8 favourite - closed off the best of the backmarkers. The five-year-old finished less than three lengths away from all-the-way winner Ocean Roar and the step up in trip suits this time.
Flying Keeper last won in December, one of three victories, all of which have been in the bottom grade. It has been nine runs since then and in the last four there have been signs Flying Keeper is ready.
Purton remains in the saddle and needs to navigate from gate eight. He should get suitable speed, with the one-dimensional Solar Boy drawn three with Ben So Tik-hung likely to set the pace.
Include Dragon Pins (Olivier Doleuze), who is having his first start for new trainer Richard Gibson. He comes in without a trial but recorded a smart time at trackwork on Monday morning. Gibson has proven he can give horses like this one a new lease of life and Dragon Pins has been getting closer to his maiden win as he dropped through the ratings.
Others to throw in are Just Good (Gerald Mosse), Jack's Gem (Brett Prebble) and Telecom Top Star (Richard Fourie).
The middle leg is a small but reasonably strong Class Two over 1,800m. Another from the Fownes camp, Best Show should be a banker. He is a last-start winner who is also open to further improvement and has drawn two and Prebble gets on for the first time.
The other standouts are Endowing (Douglas Whyte) and Poetic Justice (Mosse). Sunny Ying (Tommy Berry) and Real Generous (Purton) require some forgiveness after disappointing last-start efforts - they were both impressive winners two starts ago over 1,800m.
In the final leg, a Class Four over 1,200m, the barrier draw dealt a major blow to a couple of the main hopes. My Favorite (Purton) drew 12 after his impressive debut and Pearl Win (Doleuze) looks ready to win, but drew widest of 14. That pair have to be included, but make the banker either Bullish Boy (Matthew Chadwick) or How Speedy (Fourie).
Bullish Boy had a tough run when third behind runaway winner Bobo Dragon last start and there's a chance he could get a soft lead this time. How Speedy is yet to win in nine starts, but he has finished top four in all four starts this season and barrier four swings things in his favour.
One to watch is Grand Champion (Derek Leung Ka-chun), running for the first time this season and for the first time for trainer Paul O'Sullivan. He was given an 800m blow-out in a barrier trial earlier this month and he could produce something fresh.