Windicator Star to prove too good again
Despite doing things wrong, Fownes' talented four-year-old looks a smart banker in tomorrow night's middle leg of the Triple Trio
Unruly and unpredictable barrier manners aside, promising sprinter Windicator Star should get a race run to suit and stands out as a banker in the middle pin of tomorrow night's Triple Trio at Happy Valley.
Caspar Fownes' four-year-old has featured in the stewards' report after each of his eight starts, breaking on terms with the field just once, and even then he made it look awkward, bumping into the horse drawn outside him in the first few strides.
The presence of jockey Zac Purton has signalled a change of fortunes - at least in terms of results - even if the problems haven't disappeared from his game altogether. Purton has partnered the strapping chestnut in his last three starts, building a 100 per cent record.
While conventional wisdom says it is better to be on the speed when the rail is in the "C" configuration, this Class One sprint could be a special case where missing the kick and being out the back might not be a bad thing.
What favours the backmarker is the presence of a trio of widely drawn and seemingly one-dimensional front-runners.
Windicator Star blew the start again last time out, but still had enough in hand to sweep past his Class Two rivals at the end of 1,200m at Sha Tin. That win adds confidence he can do the same at his first try over the distance at the city circuit.
Even though he is now getting to a level where doing things wrong will get him beaten, if Windicator Star is top quality - as his raw and untapped performances indicate - then a win here will be a stepping stone to Group races.
Also include the David Ferraris-trained Valley specialist Imperial Rome (Weichong Marwing), gunning for his third win of the term, Charles The Great (Douglas Whyte) and perhaps Regency Luck (Umberto Rispoli) from a low draw.
In the first leg, Gold Racer (Howard Cheng Yue-tin) comes in off a forget run where Cheng pushed forward and was left stranded three deep with no cover. Before that, Gold Racer was again trapped deep but stuck on gamely for second - part of an excellent record since he returned from injury.
The five-year-old has only been tried over 1,200m once since returning from injury, but barrier four is perfect for Peter Ng Bik-kuen's consistent sprinter. Cheng should get a lovely trailing run behind the speed, likely to be set by Dicky Lui Cheuk-yin on Bundle Of Love, who has been hard to run down of late and should also be included.
Dream Builder (Rispoli) can also make the most of a kind draw (three) and Smart Man (Tim Clark) will climb much higher than his current rating, with the John Moore-trained youngster coming off a solid run behind Sea Dragon and Bullish Friend.
The final leg is a Class One (110-85) handicap over the extended mile, with in-form John Size-trained Aomen (Whyte) giving weight to a host of more accomplished rivals, most of whom are struggling for form.
Maybe go in without a banker and try and nail an open race with four or five selections.
Aomen, Little Dreams (Neil Callan), Fat Choy Oohlala (Clark) and Best Win are the stand-out four. The rest of the field look either outclassed or hopelessly out of form, but perhaps a switch to the more forgiving Valley course can put some life back into the legs of multiple Group One winner Beauty Flash (Whyte).