Whether he lands in front with a sole lead or ends up in the box seat, a low gate makes Caspar Fownes' course specialist Ride On The Fire a great banker in the middle pin of the Triple Trio tomorrow night at Happy Valley.

There's no doubt Ride On The Fire is more comfortable down in Class Four, but allocated just 115 pounds and with Vincent Ho Chak-yiu giving further relief with his three-pound claim, he seems set to back up a strong last-start performance in a Class Three over his best distance of 1,000m.

Ride On The Fire has built up a strong record at the shortest trip at the city track, winning three times and finishing second on three occasions in 16 starts over the Valley minimum distance.

The five-year-old got the desired sole lead from gate six at his last start and it was only Super Fresh, who sat on his back on the run, that was able to get past him.

Even though Ride On The Fire has the gate speed to easily hold the lead, Ho won't have to dig him up much to do it, which is key for a horse that can get too keen in the run when hunted from the machine.

Instead he can focus on finding a relaxed rhythm and see what transpires with some widely drawn runners - the key being Xi Ying Men drawn in gate 10 with Jacky Tong Chi-kit. He could provide nuisance value, but going off Ride On The Fire's last run and the way he railed, he can stick on for a place.

Danny Shum Chap-shing brings Mr Ginger (Zac Purton) back to 1,000m and to the smaller circuit for the first time. He looks like going higher than his current mark, but this is a big ask for a horse still learning his craft who has drawn eight. He couldn't go with Sea Dragon and Bullish Friend last start, but there was no shame in finishing 21/2 lengths behind them, both horses have won since and reads well for here.

Throw in Touch Go (Andreas Suborics), who is coming down in grade and striking a good draw (three), and Croesus (Keith Yeung Ming-lun), despite him drawing gate 11. After that it is a lottery - perhaps veteran Ever Beauty (Matthew Chadwick), a six-time winner at the course and distance, has dropped to a dangerous enough mark.

In the opening leg, Young Talent (Purton) returns for his first run since a barnstorming last-to-first burst secured him a maiden win at the end of last year and he can act as a banker.

Fownes brings the Racing Club horse back to the same course and distance, has drawn five, and looks like he has considerable upside.

Others to include are Team Work (Olivier Doleuze), Expedite (Ben So Tik-hung) and Good Hong Kong (Douglas Whyte).

In the final leg, look to the in-form Cool Bean (Tye Angland) as a banker, but also consider the horse he beat last time out, Ho Ho Life, as the blinkers - and Purton - go back on.

Victory Mascot (Suborics) and Beauty King (So), who is stepping up to 1,800m for the first time, are options.


Read Michael Cox’s blog – Gibson lets his pricey horses do the talking. Go to: http://www.scmp.com/author/michael-cox-0