Lord Sinclair has had issues at the gates, in more ways than one, but looks ready to break through with a better barrier draw in the final leg of Monday's public holiday Triple Trio at Sha Tin.
The Sean Woods-trained four-year-old has had a disrupted first season since arriving from France, fractious behaviour at the starting gates forcing him to be withdrawn from his first start and back to the trials.
A Listed winner as a three-year-old, Lord Sinclair's best trials have been on the all-weather track, but he has mostly competed on the turf, four runs there seeing his rating drop down from 85 to 80.
First start in Class Three and Woods went back to the dirt and Lord Sinclair was second to Slick Bullet, who ran very fast time after which Woods opted to geld his Roan colt. Nine weeks later, again on the dirt over the same 1,200m trip, Lord Sinclair was third behind John Size's progressive three-year-old Hypersonic. Other than being over 1,200m on the all-weather track and having jockey Brett Prebble aboard, the other common factor between the two most recent placings has been terrible gates.
Drawn 12 and then 10, Lord Sinclair had to work hard to take up prominent spots in the run - sitting in the first four both times. From gate four Prebble can be positive without asking for too much effort and hopefully land in a one-off spot and get cover.
Hypersonic (Douglas Whyte) was too good for Lord Sinclair last start and, while he is a horse that will improve further, he has drawn 12 this time and is six pounds worse off for beating Lord Sinclair by 11/4 lengths.
Include in-form pair Bould Mover (Matthew Chadwick) and Danewin Tiger (Richard Fourie). If there is a blow-out, which there always seems to be in the TT, it could easily come in this dirt leg. Green Zone (Zac Purton) needs to be considered coming back to his best surface in Class Three, and while Glamorous Honour (Andreas Suborics) is a tricky one to access. He was no world-beater in Australia, having the type of form that doesn't inspire first-up support, but a forward trial on the track indicated that dirt-tracking might be his go.
The middle leg is a Class Four over 1,400m, in which a case can be made for four or five runners.
Size-trained four-year-old Forever Ahead (Whyte) is none from 12 and has not met expectations this season, but he got to the line well last start chasing Apollo Cavalier and is consistent enough to lean on as a banker.
Bright Star goes in as he got home strongly from the tail over 1,200m last time out. The step up in trip suits and Gerald Mosse gets the benefit of gate four.
Boy Oh Boy (Olivier Doleuze) has drawn widest, but has been solid in two starts - finishing third both times - and blinkers go on for the first time.
Of the others, Affection got all the favours when he won last start for Tommy Berry. But from gate one, he might just get them again and he has to go in from the draw with Alvin Ng Ka-chun's taking few pounds off his back. Purton gets off Bright Star to ride Me Tsui Yu-sak's Safari Magic and he should run well.
The opening leg is a Class Five over 1,400m and the best banker option is the David Ferraris-trained Sharema Feeling (Whyte) - a horse with better than bottom grade ability.
Noble Flier (Berry) has mixed his form in four runs for John Moore, but expect a decent showing, despite coming back in distance. Two others to include are Money Win Wins (Weichong Marwing) and Linked Win (Terry Wong Chi-wai).
(1) Crimson Heart, (2) Domineer, (6) Perfect Charming, (9) Sparkling Sword.
(8) Joy Together, (9) Mighty Gains, (11) Well Fit, (12) Bear Elite.
(4) Sweet Corner, (5) Spurs On, (7) King Haradasun, (11) The Only Kid.
(2) Hearts Keeper, (6) Easy Ahead, (7) Confucius Elite, (11) Real Champion.
(7) Spectacular Award, (8) Money Win Wins, (10) Idyllic Wind, (13) Linked Win.
(2) Bright Star, (4) Safari Magic, (7) Grand Champion, (10) Boy Oh Boy.
(1) Lord Sinclair, (2) Bould Mover, (3) Green Zone, (10) Carry The Zeal.
(1) Noble Alpha, (3) Final Answer, (5) Rocket Let Win, (11) Rumba King.
(2) Medallist, (7) Oxford Charley, (8) Enthusiasm, (10) Golden Scalpel.
(2) Exciting Dream, (4) Beauty Journey, (9) Sky Far, (10) Mr Gnocchi.
(1) Endowing, (4) Scarlet Camellia, (6) Poetic Justice, (13) Chater Dream.