Double banker is the way to go in last leg
Fresh faces Pleasure Gains and Majestic Anthem stand out in a weak race, while other legs look a mystery for Triple Trio followers
Triple Trio players rarely get any easy assignments but at least the final leg at Sha Tin on Sunday looks a straightforward double-bankered contest.
With a fresh pool and HK$2 million up for grabs, the 18 Districts Cup (1,400m) looks a match-up between Pleasure Gains (Zac Purton) and Majestic Anthem (Matthew Chadwick) and a race with quite a long tail of horses with little or no realistic chance.
Pleasure Gains caught the eye on debut when he rushed home for fourth to Hong Kong Dancer, then was solid enough last week behind Mr Gnocchi - both over this distance.
With Douglas Whyte away in Japan, Purton takes the reins in a nice pick-up and should find his main opposition from lightly raced Majestic Anthem.
An excellent first-start fifth without luck in March, Majestic Anthem then had a setback before he resumed with a second to Dr Good Habit. The Tony Cruz-trained three-year-old is poorly drawn but should be fitter.
Thanksgiving (Tommy Berry) seems to have stalled in the middle of Class Four, but appears to be the other winning chance and has to go in all TT considerations, while Backstreet Fighter (Keith Yeung Ming-lun) is a last-start winner and Triumphant Way (Alex Lai Hoi-wing) continues to be dangerous on his lightweight mark.
The other legs are filled with mysteries, especially the many unraced or lightly raced runners in the first leg down the straight 1,000m course.
Xi Ying Men (Weichong Marwing) returns to Class Four and is back to the only track and distance where he has looked like winning - the query being that his best form has been fresh.
He looks one of the chances from the raced brigade, but the banker could be a sharp improver in Yat Ding Win (Alex Lai) after the three-year-old suffered interference at several stages in his only run up the straight behind Joy Together (Alvin Ng Ka-chun).
Yat Ding Win was still beaten only four lengths, has trialled strongly since and the well-bred son of Fastnet Rock should prove a winning chance if he can get out cleanly and into open room in the early stages.
Tayside (Richard Fourie) has to be included off an 800m trial win 14 days ago and the drop back in trip looks suitable, while the likes of City Of Lights (Purton), Super Goal Elite (Derek Leung Ka-chun), and unraced Thunder Power (Olivier Doleuze) and Flame Hero (Ben So Tik-hung) have the required talent but have drawn the wrong side of the course and a place might be their best hope.
Mighty Gains (Dicky Lui Cheuk-yin) has the right draw and has ability, although the jockey booking is a query on a gelding who has looked quite green.
In the middle pin, Regency Champion (Chadwick) has been crying out for a good draw and finally gets one, making him the preferred banker. The Tony Cruz-trained sprinter has endured tough runs from wide barriers at his last four starts but should get to save some energy this time and have more to give at the finish.
Graceful Kingdom (Berry) looks his strongest rival after chasing home Bobo Dragon in fast time on debut. That was an improvement on his trials and he won't have to improve much more to figure in the finish.
The other winning chance looks to be T-Bolt (Fourie), freshened up after disappointing last time out, while unraced Dining Star (Vincent Ho Chak-yiu), Fay Deep (Leung) and Good Friends Magic (Yeung) all look to have place claims.