Tony Millard's Golden Harvest gave the impression of a horse headed to at least Class Two with back-to-back wins late last term and can take the next step when he resumes in the final leg of another jackpot-boosted Triple Trio at Happy Valley tomorrow night.
Back over the same 1,200m trip of his two previous triumphs - by two- and 2½ lengths respectively, the burly gelding can overcome a 12-point hike for the second of those wins.
The five-year-old carries 128 pounds against his Class Three opposition, but outside of possible double-banker Swift Shadow, it looks a skinny race containing some talented but out-of-sort types with little upside.
Zac Purton rode the horse in the maiden win and gets back on board after Tommy Berry took the reins last time round. He has drawn gate seven, not great on the C course, but better than the terrible draw (11) he overcame last start.
Golden Harvest has raced just worse than midfield in both of his wins, anyway, and this race looks like panning out perfectly for the strong finisher.
Tomodachi, Bould Mover and Hawthorne are drawn eight, nine and 10 respectively and all three are possible pace influences. From gate one, Sunshine Kid will be hunted up looking for a prominent spot with a light weight, meaning there will need to be some commitment for those making a play for the rails.
Purton gave Golden Harvest an easy time in a recent Valley trial and the horse, who weighs in around 1,200 pounds, probably needed the blow-out, but did his work well coasting to the line.
Local debutante Swift Shadow is a fascinating runner, coming from the hard-and-fit regime of Australian trainer Gai Waterhouse to the slower style of John Size.
The four-year-old raced on the speed previously, but nearly all of Waterhouse's runners follow that pattern and Swift Shadow may now find himself held up and allowed to find a position just off the pace. Tye Angland, who is riding in much better form than the results show, gets the benefit of gate four.
Usually Size preps his horses with numerous barrier trials on a range of surfaces, but Swift Shadow has had one 800m turf jump-out and has been in work just over a month. The horse's last start was in May, where he was dominant against weak opposition, winning by 5-5/2 lengths at Kembla Grange.
It drops away sharply after that, with Mi Savvy (Olivier Doleuze), Royal Partner (Vincent Ho Chak-yiu) and Sunshine Kid (Jacky Tong Chi-kit) options.
Angland also gets some help from a good gate on Real General in the middle leg, a Class Four over the extended mile. There might not be a more race-fit animal in town than Real General, trainer Dennis Yip Chor-hong prepping him for his last-start second with an opening-day blow-out up the straight, and now throwing him in off a seven-day back-up.
Real General drops from gate 11 to barrier one on the C course, where he can run his type of race without the early workload he did to get outside the lead last start.
Euro Swiftly (Olivier Doleuze) is the double-banker option. Consider Beauty King (Ben So Tik-hung), after a decent trial, Lord Dragon (Ho) and Dragon Pins (Douglas Whyte).
The TT carries a hefty jackpot of nearly HK$26 million, but to be in the mix punters will have to navigate their way past a tricky Class Five (1,800m) to start things off.
Go with Hollywood Kiss as banker. Purton got him to jump and take a handier position last start when second and a repeat of those tactics will work a treat here. Also include the horse that beat him last time, Casa Junior (Eddy Lai Wai-ming), along with Clement Spirit (Dicky Lui Cheuk-yin) and Supreme Tycoon (Alex Lai Hoi-wing).
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