K-Moochi key to winning Sunday's jackpot-heavy Triple Trio
Punters chasing HK$30 million jackpot can rely on Dennis Yip's five-year-old in the third leg but solving the middle pin will be key to success
Trainer Dennis Yip Chor-hong's K-Moochi was one of the big improvers last season and the sometimes erratic front-runner's progression can continue in the final leg of a jackpot-boosted Triple Trio at Sha Tin on Sunday.
K-Moochi won his way out of Class Five at the end of last term, despite his wayward tendencies, and returned at the season opener with a strong runner-up effort - he was beaten a nose after doing the hard work out in front.
Now with gate one in a 1,200m Class Four contest on the all-weather track, he is the ideal banker in a TT bolstered with a hefty carry-over. The four meetings this season have all carried a substantial jackpot and this weekend more than HK$30 million is waiting in the pool.
Zac Purton retains the ride on K-Moochi and the Australian partnered the gelding in a pre-season trial on the dirt. K-Moochi did things smoothly enough to suggest he could come to relish this surface.
Jumping next to the rail is a huge help for a horse who could barely find it last season, and there seems to be a lot more composure to K-Moochi's work overall this term. He has proven he is no "Class Five wonder" as well - counting a win at the bottom of Class Four among his three successes last term. He has remained competitive in Class Four since then too, unlike many bottom dwellers who bounce out of the cellar grade and drop straight back down.
Hearts Keeper (Ben So Tik-hung), Palepale (Karis Teetan) and Dehere's The Love (Douglas Whyte) should go in. Also consider Hurry Hurry Up (Olivier Doleuze), while stable transfer (Richard Gibson to Derek Cruz) Quantum Power (Dicky Lui Cheuk-yin) is a possible blowout chance. His rating was dropped six points in the off-season and he gets another seven pounds off for the apprentice's claim.
The opening leg is a Class Five over 1,400m where Clement Spirit (Whyte) can make it back-to-back wins. He showed the benefit of a five-pound off-season drop when winning on opening day for new trainer Danny Shum Chap-shing. He stays in the grade and may have more to offer.
If day-one winner Amazing Always (Teetan) has as much improvement as trainer David Ferraris believes, he can figure despite a wide draw.
Triumphant Way (Matthew Chadwick) should be included as he has trialed in a manner that suggests he will win in this company soon enough, despite getting a raw deal in the barrier draw. Flying Supreme (Eddie Lai Wai-ming) and Magical Beam (Doleuze) are chances.
The middle pin is a Class Four up the straight that is harder to sort out than it looks on paper - it will pay to consider the huge advantage given to horses drawn nearest to the grandstand rail.
Joy Together raced consistently at the end of last term and is a likely improver off a mark of 51 this season, but the key here is gate 12. Apprentice Alvin Ng Ka-chun also takes off five pounds.
Ricky Yiu Poon-fai's Fantastico (Weichong Marwing) looks the one with the most upside, but there's no pre-season trial to get a guide. If he makes the usual natural improvement from three to four years of age, he could go one better than the two runner-up efforts he managed late last season. Consider him as a double banker. Golden Addiction (Whyte), Well Fit (Tye Angland) and Pure Force (Ben So Tik-hung) are the other options.
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(1) Solar Dragon, (3) Winsome, (7) Solar Boy, (12) Take The Rap.
(2) You Know I Win, (3) Ole Ole, (9) Prince Of Sunshine, (12) Win Along.
(3) Sun Hussar, (4) Winning Boy, (6) Packing Cross, (7) Soldier.
(2) Clement Spirit, (4) Magical Beam, (5) Just Good, (7) Amazing Always.
(3) Well Fit, (5) Fantastico, (6) Golden Addiction, (10) Pure Force.
(1) Maroon Prince, (4) Hurry Hurry Up, (5) K-Moochi, (9) Supreme Hong Kong.
(2) Bundle Of Joy, (4) Big Four, (6) Oriental Prosper, (7) Roman Legend.
(2) Trump, (4) Enthusiasm, (7) Mr Gnocchi, (11) Born To Win.
(1) Eagle Power, (3) King's Pact, (4) Good Treasure, (5) California Duke.
(2) Fionn's Treasure, (3) Victory Master, (4) Deep Thinker, (13) Victorious.