A trio of talented young sprinters find themselves on a New Year’s Day collision course at Sha Tin tomorrow but it is Paul O’Sullivan’s Who Else But You that should have his rivals’ measure.
Who Else But You (Joao Moreira) squares off against two other progressive last start winners, Master Steed (Zac Purton) and Lucky Profit (Derek Leung Ka-chun), in the Class Four (1,200m) middle leg of a Triple Trio that carries a HK$16 million jackpot.
After a sound debut when running home from the tail in November, Who Else But You was sprung out of a wide gate and led all the way over 1,200m earlier this month.
The winning time was more than a second slower than standard for Class Four, although from the limited racing on turf that day, the track did seem to be playing a little slow. Still, it was the style of the victory that suggested there was plenty in hand and the form has since stacked up well.
Sitting behind Who Else But You that day was Right Call – he got the soft run from a low gate behind the leader but got dropped at the top of the straight to finish third. Right Call won impressively on Sunday, while the runner-up London Master also raced well on the same day when third to Glenealy Prize.
Who Else But You has been kept ticking over with light trackwork ahead of his next challenge, where he not only cops seven points for his facile victory, but again has a tricky barrier to deal with.
From barrier nine Moreira will be again hunting forward on the B +2 course and looks to have found a race containing little in the way of pace.
The two aforementioned rivals are likely to be behind midfield after drawing wide.
It took a drop into Class Five for Lucky Profit to break through, but trainer Danny Shum Chap-shing would be feeling good about his four-year-old’s chances back up in grade with a light weight.
As highlighted in Alan Aitken’s black book column after the maiden win just over two weeks ago, Lucky Profit has had his troubles with breathing difficulties, but off-season throat surgery seems to be doing the trick – for now at least.
An unimpeded run will be critical for Lucky Profit, and the same could be said for Caspar Fownes-trained Master Steed, returning to the bigger track after an impressive Valley victory.
From there consider Jolly Spring (Richard Fourie) and G-One Bo Bo (Vincent Ho Chak-yiu), in a race with a long tail, including three first starters that all look like needing some practice.
Go with the irrepressible Moreira as banker in the other two legs, firstly on Leading Horse in a Class Four over a mile and then Team Fortune, getting another crack at 1,200m in the final leg.
Take Leading Horse and consider Unicorn (Purton) as a double banker in a race lacking depth. From there it’s a case of take your pick from the likes of Speedy Wally (Leung), King Bountiful (Ho) and Chancellor (Gerald Mosse).
Team Fortune was a two-time winner over 1,000m early this season and although unplaced at his first time over 1,200m, the Chris So Wai-yin-trained four-year-old had excuses on international day, racing wide in a messy race and finding trouble with 200m to go.
This time Moreira gets gate one and should make it three for the season, with the main dangers being Thor The Greatest (Mosse), Smart Delight (Purton) and Solar Hei Hei (Brett Prebble).