Stayer Magnumous worth backing for TT
The gelding has been thriving since stepping up to staying distances and he can keep the ball rolling in the middle leg at Happy Valley
A none-from-seven record at Happy Valley might not read well, but trainer Tony Cruz brings Magnumous back to the city track a different horse than in those earlier efforts and he can be counted on as a banker in the middle leg of tomorrow night's Triple Trio.
When put into context, the poor returns on the smaller track are understandable for a four-year-old that has only just found his feet in Hong Kong. Combined with a rating that fell from 85 to 53, it took a step up to beyond 1,650m for the first time before Magnumous notched his first success.
The breakthrough came over 2,200m at Sha Tin, the same distance of the On Lan Handicap - a Class Four lacking some depth.
In two starts since that win, Magnumous has been runner-up in 1,800m events to good horses. Firstly he was beaten a neck by Jamesina - a former Group Three winner dropping into Class Four - and then gunned down by Ambassadorship - a four-year-old rocketing up to the higher grades.
Magnumous (Matthew Chadwick) will carry 133 pounds, but his on-pace run style helps and he has drawn well in five. Perfect Moment looks the leader from gate three, but there doesn't look to be much pressure outside of him, with a host of backmarkers. Any sort of soft sectionals up front will make it awfully hard for them to catch Magnumous.
Others to throw into the mix are the Richard Gibson-trained last-start winner Dragon Pins (Derek Leung Ka-chun), who still has some improvement left in him. He should be reaching his peak and this trip should suit. The Fast Lane (Gerald Mosse) and Hei Hei Posh (Douglas Whyte).
The first and final legs of the TT look particularly difficult. In the opening leg (1,200m), the Caspar Fownes-trained Lovely Boy (Brett Prebble) looks like the one heading in the right direction and drew well in six.
Also include Red Courage (Tye Angland), with trainer John Size resorting to blinkers, and Splendid Guy (Alvin Ng Ka-chun).
Ricky Yiu Poon-fai's Jade Christy (Mosse) has been disappointing, when he won on debut at the start of last season, most thought he would progress through the grades. There have been some signs of life lately, and a dual gear change - cross-over noseband and side winkers - could bring about another spark.
The anchor leg, the Staunton Handicap (Class Three, 1,000m), is a real puzzle. Last-start course and distance winner Eastern Promise (Dicky Lui Cheuk-yin) has drawn 10, and the apprentice might find it tough to get in the two-wide line. Windicator Power (Mosse) can't be relied upon at the best of times and he drew widest in 12.
Rather than try and nail down a banker, just try and get to the final leg and go with four or five there. Dennis Yip Chor-hong's Pearl Star (Terry Wong Chi-wai) comes in off just two trials and took six starts in New Zealand maidens before breaking through - so leave him out.
With the rail in the "C" position, maybe the barrier draw can help sort this race out - and in gate one two-year-old Charity Joy (Alex Lai Hoi-wing) is a likely improver and could stick around at odds.
Croesus (Whyte) has been continually disappointing and drew badly but goes in, along with The Prince (Zac Purton) and Tomodachi (Weichong Marwing).
Read Michael Cox’s blog – Purton has put absolutely everything on the line ... but it’s unlikely to be enough.