With an improved draw that will provide options and a big weight turnaround on his last-start conqueror, Sterling City is an excellent banker option in the competitive middle leg of Sunday's Triple Trio at Sha Tin.

The John Moore-trained sprinter has been unplaced just twice in his 10 starts and will be gunning for a fourth victory in a Class Two over 1,200m.

After resuming with a win and following that up with a runner-up effort, Sterling City was gelded and didn't handle Happy Valley at all in his following start.

Either that or he just didn't get the room he wanted to stride out as he raced on the inside of horses. Next start, he didn't have to worry about room, barrier 14 forcing Weichong Marwing back to last. Sterling City still ripped home for third - last 400m in 21.43.

This is a horse that had the natural pace to win over 1,000m on debut and sit outside the leader in his other first-season victory, so there's some tactical options with the now four-year-old - options Brett Prebble will have the chance to use from gate seven.

The pace looks genuine with Fionn's Treasure likely to go forward from gate five and challenge speedy newcomer California Bounty, who will kick up from gate three with Matthew Chadwick on board.

Drawn one is the likely race favourite and top-weight Windicator Star (Zac Purton). What he does from the start is anyone's guess, but he will be challenging late and has to be included - possibly as a second banker.

Sterling City gets massive weight turnaround on Windicator Star on their last clash. Last time Sterling City gave his rival two pounds in a 11/4-length defeat - albeit one where the victor blew the start and could have won by more. This time he gets seven pounds from Windicator Star.

Include California Bounty after his encouraging trial efforts. With the rest of the field well exposed and evenly matched, Roman Soldier (Douglas Whyte) is one that could improve sharply on what we've seen so far.

The opening leg is a Class Four handicap over the Hong Kong Derby distance of 2,000m and a low gate gives Full Value the chance to continue his steady progression.

Full Value (Gerald Mosse) has the early speed and racing pattern to make best use of gate two and has competed well at the distance and further. He goes in simply on the score of where he will end up in the run.

Also drawn to take advantage of his light weight and ability to race handy is Bullish Power (Chadwick) as he jumps from one and should be included.

Consider Super Strike (Tye Angland), Victory Mascot (Prebble) and Follow The Wind (Whyte), who steps up to the trip for the first time.

The final leg is a minefield, a Class Four over 1,400m - but at least there looks to be some speed in the contest.

This should suit Lord Dragon (Angland), who couldn't make up ground last start when the winner got a soft lead and now gets blinkers back on.

Bullish Boy (Chadwick) will have to search forward from gate seven, but could easily contend for a place, and also throw in Floral Man (Purton).




(1) Lucky Chevalier, (2) Hurry Hurry Up, (4) Telecom Top Star, (6) Double Moon.


(5) Glacier Blue, (6) Majestic Anthem, (7) Mighty Equus, (10) Heartland.


(4) Indigo Way, (6) Winning Instinct, (9) Heco Rider.


(1) Super Strike, (4) Full Value, (10) Packing De Lago, (14) Bullish Power.


(1) Windicator Star, (4) Sterling City, (10) California Bounty, (11) New Deerfield.


(2) Double Dragon, (3) Floral Man, (4) Heart Wood, (7) Lord Dragon.


(2) Glorious Days, (3) Lucky Nine, (5) Captain Sweet, (8) Admiration.


(1) Akeed Mofeed, (6) Ashkiyr, (7) Wah May Star, (12) Best Show.


(4) Big Four, (7) Victorius, (8) Aerovelocity, (11) Exciting Dream.

RACE 10:

(4) Metallic Star, (7) Ho In One, (8) Berlinski, (11) Great Charm.


Read Michael Cox’s blog – Nowhere to hide and plenty to learn in Hong Kong. Go to: http://www.scmp.com/author/michael-cox-0