M's Magic gets draw to break through
He may have not won yet, but the five-year-old's reliability over the dirt surface is enough to warrant him as a top pick in the first leg of the TT
Making a case for a maiden that hasn't won in 18 tries, on a track that is unpredictable at the best of times - but could be rain-affected as well - is a tough sell; but that's just the nature of Class Five racing.
M's Magic lacks fight in a finish and overall ability. But barrier one and a sound run over the course and distance last start are enough to make the Paul O'Sullivan-trained five-year-old a banker in the first leg of a jackpot-carrying, but incredibly tough, Triple Trio at Sha Tin on Sunday.
The 1,650m Class Five on the dirt is hard enough to get past, but what follows are one of the most competitive and even Class Fours of the season and an all-weather track Class Three, with the usual suspects lining up, but no clear standouts.
If M's Magic is ever going to crack it for a win - it will be over the extended mile on the inner track - and Sunday could be the day. He comes off a run where he did things wrong at Happy Valley, but before that, his third over the course and distance would be good enough to figure.
There doesn't look to be much speed, and from gate one, Olivier Doleuze can hopefully roll along at his leisure.
Precision Magic (Douglas Whyte) is next in, even though he has drawn the widest, his two wins over the course and distance make him a solid selection.
Others to consider are Mirage R (Weichong Marwing), Gorgeous Ruler (Ben So Tik-hung) and Watch First (Tye Angland).
The middle pin - a Class Four over 1,400m - is perhaps the hardest to narrow things down. You can make a rational case for every horse in the race, at least on a place line, except one - Lucky Choice - and he drew barrier one.
Two horses standout as banker options - Sunny Pearl (Whyte) or Mochi (Zac Purton).
Sunny pearl was heavily punted to win on debut over 1,200m, but ended up getting a torrid three-wide run from gate 11 as 1.7 favourite. Things aren't any easier this time for the half-brother of O'Sullivan's best horse in New Vision as he has drawn 13 with the rail in the "C + 3". The trainer has always been of the opinion that Sunny Pearl is more of a miler, so the step up to 1,400m should see him improve off what was a pretty decent fourth to Holyangelholy - who went on and won again last start.
Mochi may go better at Happy Valley, but he isn't hopeless on the bigger track, in fact he has won over the course and distance at the end of the debut season. The blinkers go back on, he has drawn beautifully in two to take advantage of the new equipment, that should see him sitting up closer in the run.
Empire City (Vincent Ho Chak-yiu) loves the sting out of the ground, and must be included, along with Floral Man (Doleuze), Dragon Pins (Brett Prebble) and Danewin Tiger (Andreas Suborics).
The final leg is as hard as the first - Class Three dirt-track warriors like Jolly Good (Suborics), Leo's Pride (Alex Lai Hoi-wing) and Ole Ole (Umberto Rispoli) have won three races each and they warrant consideration.
Champagne Days (Marwing) and All Friends (Tim Clark) are worth including on a ticket, coming in with good form on the track.
(1) Golden Gunners, (3) Expedite, (5) All You Wish, (7) Maroon Prince.
(4) Honey Fortune, (6) Viva Dolphin, (7) Planet, (10) Daily Double.
(1) Winning Instinct, (2) The Only Kid, (5) Bosambo, (12) Prince Of Sunshine.
(2) Supreme Genki, (3) Tarrega, (5) Call Me Achiever, (10) Supreme Hong Kong.
(1) Ice Fire, (3) Precision Magic, (8) Fantastisch, (12) Plot Ratio.
(1) Country Charm, (2) Mochi, (6) Mark Two, (9) Empire City.
(1) Champagne Days, (3) Racing Hero, (8) Leo's Pride, (11) Let's Goal.
(4) Happy Forever, (6) Slick Bullet, (7) Cultural City, (10) Rainbow Fighter.
(1) Bundle Of Love, (2) Ultimate Winners, (3) Mi Savvy, (13) Po Ching King.
(3) Turf Express, (5) Noble Alpha, (6) Aomen, (13) Earl Of Leitrim.
(1) Plentiful, (3) Sea Diamond, (4) Cheers Joy, (9) Speedygonzalez.
Read Michael Cox's blog - From Frankel to Class Five - welcome to Hong Kong Tom Queally. Go to: http://www.scmp.com/author/michael-cox-0