Victory Mascot eyes more joy at Valley
Six-year-old hasn't won this season but after a bout of dirt racing and on the Sha Tin turf, the gelding returns to his happy hunting ground
Tomorrow night's Triple Trio at Happy Valley, with the rail in the wide "C+3" position, looks one of this season's toughest, so much so that a horse boasting a none from 17 record this season - Victory Mascot - could be the best banker.
After a recent drop in grade, the Caspar Fownes-trained stayer comes back to the track where he has won six times, with the durable six-year-old having won two of those races over the course and distance of 1,800m.
What favours Victory Mascot (Brett Prebble), other than a switch back to the city track, is barrier four and the promise of a genuine tempo with the horses drawn five, eight and 10 - Perfect Moment, Super Brand and Handsome Batchelor - all likely candidates to go forward.
The staying contests at the city venue are often muddling, but even if they go fast early, then slow in the middle stages, Prebble is one of the best of timing a run from near the tail to take advantage. Given either scenario, Victory Mascot will be loafing out the back and waiting for Prebble to push the button.
Others to include are Danzulu (Tommy Berry), as he is two from four over the course and distance, last-start winner Sure Champ (Olivier Doleuze) and Cool Bean (Douglas Whyte) dropping in grade. Yuan's Fortune (Weichong Marwing) could be the blow-out hope as he is down to a dangerous mark of 42.
There's not much between the top six chances in the second leg, a Class Four over the extended mile. Very Well (Derek Leung Ka-chun), Trendy Win (Ben So Tik-hung), Good Looking Watch (Berry) and Real General (Tye Angland) all have chances, but the last-start runner-up performance of Twin Turbo (Whyte) makes him the best banker.
Whyte had to push Twin Turbo from gate 12 to find a one-off spot and he was also forced to travel wide at the turn as he came with a strong finish. He has drawn slightly better this time, barrier eight, and hopefully Whyte has an easier time of getting a position. Twin Turbo's last-start conqueror, Real General (gate two), is drawn to get a similar box-seat run as last time and will be hard to beat, but a five-pound turnaround in the weights for a 23/4-length defeat swings it towards Twin Turbo.
Peter Ng Bik-kuen seems to have found the key to Good Looking Watch as he is chasing three in a row, but you have to wonder when the weight will catch up with him. The six-year-old has jumped 14 points in two starts out of Class Five.
The final leg is another 1,800m contest and is by far the most difficult to have confidence about any of the 12 runners. The Class Three field is a combined five wins from 105 starts this term and none of the dozen seem to be likely candidates to move up off their current marks.
Maybe Manfred Man Ka-lueng's Distill (Whyte) is about to recapture some semblance of form after a last-start third. Distill arrived off an 89 rating, courtesy of a Group One win as a three-year-old in New Zealand, and notched a win at his second start at Happy Valley.
He started the season on 95 but it has been all downhill from there, dropping 19 points. Clearly, he is at a mark more to his liking and barrier six is good enough. Also consider Smiling Watch (Keith Yeung Ming-lun), Indigo Way (Alex Lai Hoi-wing), Great Renown (Leung) and Ho Ho Life (Terry Wong Chi-wai).