Draw is the key for speedy Matsukaze
Apprentice Lui gets a golden opportunity to rack up his first win on the seven-year-old in the final leg of Sunday's Triple Trio
Matsukaze can deliver as a banker in the anchor leg of Sunday's Triple Trio at Sha Tin and the likely front-runner represents apprentice Dicky Lui Cheuk-yin's best chance of a maiden win in his short career.
Lui has ridden the Ricky Yiu Poon-fai-trained grey at his last two starts, and they could be both be termed "learning experiences" for the young rider, as he went too fast on the seven-year-old in front, carving out speedy sectionals in the first half of events and leaving nothing for the finish.
Matsukaze has run mighty races despite the early pressure, finishing second and third behind some handy types - Grand Elite and Calling With Love - and with some more mindful tactics from his jockey, can win over his pet course and distance against a moderate field.
Yiu will have sat down and watched the replays with Lui and his instructions again will be to find the rail and rate as best he can, which he will be able to do with minimum effort from gate three, with the only chance of pressure being from out-of-form Classic Figure, with Brett Prebble perhaps trying to bluff the youngster into handing up easily, hoping to pinch a soft lead from gate nine.
All five of Matsukaze's wins have been over the course and distance and he has been left alone by the handicapper, going up just one point in the last two starts.
His 53-rating has him near the top of the weights with 129, but Lui's 10-pound relief means he carries just two pounds more than the bottom weight in this event, the Class Five-bound Loving All.
Lucky Chevalier (Richard Fourie) is the biggest danger - and another option as a banker - drawn four and capable of running a race after some solid lead-up gallops. He will be stalking the speed and should be in the money.
Lucky Nistelrooy (Tye Angland) has drawn badly, but comes in third-up. His blood issues are a worry, but he needs to be included. Throw in Caga Spirit (Tim Clark) and Floral Man (Olivier Doleuze) in the calculation.
Rather than risk a banker in a wide-open first leg, go with a straight four or five selections. Forget All Bountiful (Douglas Whyte) went around last start - he was sent out favourite partly because of the John Size-Whyte factor - but was three-deep with no cover for the trip and dropped right out. A week later from gate two and stepping up in trip, he will be in the market again and the stable must be respected.
Cosmo One (Weichong Marwing) was the victim of an indecisive ride from apprentice Lui at his last start and, while gate seven is awkward, he should be included.
Richard Gibson's Expectator (Doleuze) will be fancied at his fourth start following a solid first-up effort at Happy Valley, albeit after a soft run in transit - with a low draw he will be there.
Theheroinmyheart (Tim Clark) has been disappointing, but surely he is better than a rating of 44, and what should be a genuine pace will help. The other options are Kingston Spartacus (Angland) and Suisse D'Or (Matthew Chadwick).
The middle pin is the hardest - go with Elegant Frames (Marwing) as a banker after his solid debut up the straight, from Winsome (Doleuze), Golden Gunners (Derek Leung Ka-chun), Super Brother (Chadwick) and Heartland (Ben So Tik-hung).
(1) Humongus, (8) Noble Flier, (10) Medic Champion, (11) Watch First.
(1) Jun Dao, (2) Xi Ying Men, (10) Well Fit, (14) Duo Glory.
(4) Taknam, (5) Holy Mac, (8) Grand Elite, (11) Winning Instinct.
(2) Suisse D'or, (3) Kingston Spartacus, (4) Public Figure, (5) Wild Force.
(1) Happy Ceramibo, (5) Elegant Frames, (6) Spectacular Award, (7) Winsome.
(2) Matsukaze, (8) Lucky Chevalier, (12) Floral Man, (14) Loving All.
(2) Costa Del Sol, (4) Sterling City, (5) The Peak, (13) Corporal Jones.
(4) Sea Diamond, (10) Dance For Gold, (12) Happy Champion, (14) Highland Dragon.
(1) Liberator, (3) Familists, (7) Dan Excel, (8) Little Dreams.
(1) Fat Choy Oohlala, (2) New Vision, (5) Amigo, (11) Cheers Joy.
Read Michael Cox’s blog – The good, the bad and the ugly. Go to: http://www.scmp.com/author/michael-cox-0