Plain Red Banner can hit the frame in TT
With a massive HK$22 million on offer and some tough legs in the Triple Trio, at least Yiu's gelding can be counted on to keep the pot rolling
The progeny of Holy Roman Emperor have been an instant hit in Hong Kong, with seven of the 10 runners to start winning a total of 23 races. Plain Red Banner (Alex Lai Hoi-wing) can add his name to the list at the track where they have found most success, Happy Valley, in the middle pin of tomorrow night's massive Triple Trio.
The TT carries a solid jackpot of HK$22.1 million, but the programmers have made it hard to get again - a Class Five kicking off proceedings, with a wide-open Class Four to close. Sandwiched in between is a Class Four over the extended mile, where Plain Red Banner's low draw (four) and light weight (118 pounds) can see him stick around for a placing.
Two sons of Holy Roman Emperor - Imperial Rome and Charles The Great - ran the quinella in Sunday's feature at the track, and Legendary Dragon is also a top-class performer on the smaller circuit. It's unlikely Ricky Yiu Poon-fai's Plain Red Banner will reach the ratings heights of the aforementioned trio, and Mr Award might be a better role model - an honest performer who has won five races in Classes Four and Five.
Plain Red Banner's rating has taken eight unplaced runs to drop to 44 from the starting mark of northern hemisphere Private Purchase Griffins, 57, but it looks like he will strike soon.
Wherever he ends up in the run, he won't have to work as hard as last start, when he was pushed across from gate 12 to find the front. This time, hopefully Lai can find a spot behind Beauty Lead (Weichong Marwing), who has been beginning like a bullet of late and overracing slightly, yet should still be included, with a chance they could be left alone in front.
Threats from the tail of the field if the pace is too strong are Victory Ide Say (Richard Fourie) and Lord Dragon (Tye Angland), who will be forced to drop back and look for luck from the widest gate.
A group of runners are approaching dangerously low marks and have shown some signs of life lately and should be treated with caution, especially Dragon Bachelor (Tim Clark) and Fay Deep (Derek Leung Ka-chun), but also recent stable transfer Riyadh (Olivier Doleuze) from gate one.
In the fist leg, bank the Tony Cruz-trained Bullish Power as he drops into gate one and seems right at home in cellar grade, where he has won and been placed three times in eight starts. Gate five and the ability to race handy over the 1,800m course is an advantage.
Danny Shum Chap-shing has used the seven-pound claim of Alvin Ng Ka-chun on last-start winner Super Brand - and at leas he runs the trip and is in-form - more than can be said for most of this ordinary lot.
Euphemism (Andreas Suborics) is unreliable, but caught the eye when running home last start and, if he is going to break through, it will be at this trip. Mega Castle (Brett Prebble) must go in.
In the final leg, lean towards Novel Start (Keith Yeung Ming-lun) as a banker from True Courage (Vincent Ho Chak-yiu), Surfer Boy (Ng), Team Work (Doleuze) and sneaky outside hope Prosperity Aethon (Zac Purton).
Read Michael Cox’s blog – Too much money and not enough (horse) sense for unpredictable owners. Go to: http://www.scmp.com/author/michael-cox-0