Surely, Holyangelholy will get a blessed run
The four-year-old, who was unlucky last campaign, gets a shot at redemption from a better gate in the final leg of Sunday's Triple Trio
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Holyangelholy was the horse left behind last term as his fellow John Size-trained private purchase griffins went on a tear in their first seasons and helped deliver the master horseman a seventh trainers' title, but the four-year-old was unlucky not to add his name to the long list of maiden winners from the yard.
The four-year-old gets a shot at redemption at his fourth start, in the final leg of the Triple Trio at Sha Tin on Sunday, with two lead-up trials having him primed for the Ta Chee Handicap (1,400m), in which he can act as a rock-solid banker.
Five trials meant Holyangelholy was sent out the 2.6-1 top pick over 1,200m in May, expected to do what so many of his stablemates do on debut - win with authority and begin their progression through the grades - but he overdid it a touch in the run, got a bit far back and was beaten by three-quarters of a length, although he hit the line hard.
His next two starts, stepping up to 1,400m, can be considered complete "forgives": The first when blocked for a run until very late and missing by a short-head, and next when beaten as the 1.7-1 favourite - those odds might seem short, but what are the chances of Douglas Whyte getting trapped three-wide no cover from barrier three?
With another two strong trials in the bag, Whyte gets a shot at redemption himself from gate seven against a strong Class Four field that looks like being towed along at a genuine clip.
Suited by a strong tempo which should be created with Matthew Chadwick on Supreme Genki and 10-pound claiming apprentice Dicky Lui Cheuk-yin on Matsuakze charging forward, will be Cool Bean (Tye Angland).
One to include is Caspar Fownes' first-starter Calling With Love (Brett Prebble), who has drawn five and, after a solid grounding at the trials, he is set for a bold showing.
Joyful Winner II gets in well at the weights with Alvin Ng Ka-chun's seven-pound allowance off his back. Theheroinmyheart (Richard Fourie) had his chances last term, and in the end proved costly. It was his first season though and gate one, a suitable speed for him to run off and a generous off-season ratings adjustment (48 down to 44) make him a definite option.
The trend this season seems to be to include a Class Five contest to open the TT, and as usual, negotiating a path through here might require a significant spend, and worse still, it's on the dreaded dirt. Putting a line through runners based on poor performances leaves not much to work with. Fastplus Master (Olivier Doleuze) drops in grade and gets a tick, as does the other horse coming back to Class Five, Winner Smart (Brett Prebble); a risk on one or both as bankers could be a strategy.
For Winner Smart, a previous win over the course and distance adds confidence, with blinkers going on to coincide with the drop in grade and move to the dirt a play that was effective last season.
Outside of last-start course and distance winner Dashing Ace (Jackie Tong Chi-kit), options are scarce, but consider Daily Double (Eddie Lai Hoi-wing) and Toy Story (Vincent Ho Chak-yiu).
The middle pin is also on the all-weather track over the extended mile, where Our Dynasty (Prebble) gets a chance to break his maiden from an ideal draw. His best efforts have been over the course and distance and he is the best banker.
The two at the top of the weights, in-form Pegasus Supreme (Zac Purton) and Suisse D'Or (Tye Angland) are strong at this trip. Last-start winner Young Hero (Fourie), Chater D'Cat (Andreas Suborics) and Naughty Baby (Chadwick) are others to include.
RACE 1: (1) Fortune Star, (4) Dark Secret, (8) Top Power, (12) Viva Dolphin.
RACE 2: (1) Maelstrom, (2) Owners' Pride, (4) The Prince, (12) One Of A Kind.
RACE 3: (2) Bernard's Choice, (5) Elegant Frames, (6) Fabulous November, (9) Solar Spirit.
RACE 4: (1) Fastplus Master, (3) Winner Smart, (6) Titanium Alloy, (8) Dashing Ace.
RACE 5: (5) Young Hero, (6) Naughty Baby, (12) Mr Marfach, (13) Our Dynasty.
RACE 6: (2) Holyangelholy, (3) Fishking Emperor, (7) Matsukaze, (8) Calling With Love.
RACE 7: (1) Bould Mover, (3) Windicator Star, (5) Castle Hero, (9) Tarrega.
RACE 8: (2) Shiny Day, (6) Taknam, (8) Peppermint, (10) Africa Light.
RACE 9: (1) Adoration, (2) Deep Thinker, (6) Fresh Air, (8) Mighty K.
RACE 10: (2) Bubble Chic, (3) Noble Alpha, (4) Voile Rouge, (6) President Lincoln.
Read Michael Cox's blog - The colourful case of racing's 'Benjamin Button'. Go to: http://www.scmp.com/author/michael-cox-0