Playing a double banker of “boys” – Wild Boy and Good Luck Boy – in the opening race of tomorrow’s Triple Trio can open up options for the far more difficult final two legs.
Racing returns to Sha Tin with a mix of turf and dirt, and while the opening leg up the straight seems straightforward enough, a 1,650m dirt contest and 1,800m event on the circle, with the rail in the C position, could both bring punters unstuck.
Wild Boy (Keith Yeung Ming-lun) and Good Luck Boy (Nash Rawiller) come via the same straight race two weeks ago, where circumstances contributed to their efforts being better than they look on paper.
The widest gate of 14 can be a blessing on the biased straight track, where the section next to the outside rail is still a fast lane, wherever the rail is placed. It can also be a curse, especially for a horse that needs time to wind up – like Wild Boy – with space sometimes in short supply at critical stages as the field sticks to the better ground.
That exactly what transpired with Wild Boy in the race won by Diamond Dragon, with Yeung finding trouble with 350m to go and again having his momentum halted inside the furlong, before picking up to finish strongly.
Wild Boy has only raced five times up the straight – surprising, given how well he handles the course – but Benno Yung Tin-pang’s six-year-old returns with a light weight and with another chance from gate 14.
There doesn’t look to be as much speed this time around, although Yeung will require some luck, as he is likely to be crossed for the lead.
Expect Sky Man (Chad Schofield) to be vying for a forward spot from gate nine, and he will be right in the contest after acquitting himself well from barrier one in the same race won by Diamond Dragon. Crossing to lead from gate 11 should be Beauty Master (Neil Callan) – there is nothing extraordinary about his Australian form, but Tony Cruz doesn’t leave much in the tank when it comes to his first-starters and he should figure.
Conversely, Jade Fortune brings what looks solid New Zealand form on paper, yet despite a gun draw, his final trial at Happy Valley was atrocious and he is one to leave out.
Tendon injuries have restricted Good Luck Boy to just eight starts since he arrived with trainer David Hall and the five-year-old was first up after another setback last start.
The market had Good Luck Boy 3.3 second favourite, compared to $14 for Wild Boy, last start, but he jumped in the air at the jump and had no chance after racing near the tail. The Irish-bred sprinter should be better for that run and with a clean jump and drag into the race from in behind the speed, he should be challenging late.
Also include Radiant Bunny (Zac Purton) – first-up after suffering a setback late last season, his trials have looked good, it’s just a tricky gate that is the problem.
Now for the fun part – a dirt race over the extended mile that looms as a bit of a lottery. Play as wide as possible, but take Super Silks (Douglas Whyte) as banker, even if dropping back in distance with barrier 14 doesn’t fill one with confidence.
From there, take the two top weights, Autumn Gold (Purton) and Sure Peace (Gregory Benoist). There is plenty to pick from after that, with Cheerful Frame (Callan), Everyone’s Choice (Alex Lai Hoi-wing) and Dragon Bachelor (Brett Prebble) all some hope.
In the final leg, a 1,800m Class Four, go with Rouge Et Blanc (Purton) from Monsieur Mogok (Schofield), Happy And Healthy (Prebble) and Keen Tactics (Yeung).