John Size-trained Right Call gets the help of a better barrier when he goes in search of back-to-back wins on Sunday at Sha Tin and the no-fuss four-year-old stands out as banker in the final leg of the Triple Trio.
It took Right Call just three starts to break through for a first career win, with Joao Moreira climbing aboard the son of Darci Brahma for an all-the-way win at his first try at 1,400m – the relative newcomer doing well to cross from barrier 12 and controlling the race from the front.
Even from his early trials, Right Call has always looked a straightforward type, but also a horse that will benefit from racing as he develops more toughness, and he should take some confidence and improvement out of his victory.
Three weeks later, Right Call contests another 1,400m Class Four but gets gate one, from where he is likely to receive a more helpful run on the C + 3 course. And that, along with natural improvement, is enough to absorb the jump up to 130 pounds.
Starting from an inside stall isn’t without its challenges and Right Call will still have to work to maintain a forward position, but the race does look to map well – particularly if Moreira elects to take a sit behind the speed.
London City steps back up to 1,400m in search of three straight victories and Jack Wong Ho-nam will again be hunting forward and looking to control the tempo, but he could find some opposition from another that likes to sit up where the action is, Born To Win (Chad Schofield) on his inside.
Should those two pair up out in front, as expected, Moreira will be provided with a lovely trail into the straight and should be right in the finish.
Another horse drawn to get a gun run and a possible double banker is Bold Stitch (Silvestre de Sousa).
The Tony Millard-trained sprinter will benefit from the experience of a senior jockey after throwing away victory last start, coasting once he hit the front and losing by a head to Diamond King.
Backmarkers Royale Elegance (Douglas Whyte) and Victor Emperor (Ryan Moore) both hit the line hard in that race, but will have no choice but to go back and their jockeys will be hoping the leaders cut into each other up front.
Danewin Express (Vincent Ho Chak-yiu) is another option, but he will have his work cut out from a wide draw.
In the opening leg, another Size-trained prospect, Easy Hedge (Nash Rawiller), has a few factors against him but still stands out in a 1,600m Class Four.
Easy Hedge was impressive against his fellow griffins last start but stepping up to 1,600m at his third start with top weight, against older horses, looms as a much stiffer test.
Barrier 10 is tricky as well for a horse that has pushed forward at his previous two starts.
Still, the three-year-old stands out as the horse with the most upside here and can go in as banker ahead of House Of Luck (Moreira), Faithful Boy (Howard Cheng Yue-tin) and Unique Happiest (Moore).
In the opening leg, an 1,800m Class Three, all eyes will be on David Hall’s Bamboo Dance (Moreira) as he chases the rare feat of seven wins in a row.
Making that achievement even more stunning is the fact Bamboo Dance started the string of wins from deep in Class Five.
Bamboo Dance may have met his match here though, facing a field that includes a few four-year-olds that need to get a wriggle on if they want to find their way into the Group One BMW Hong Kong Derby in March.
Hall’s cult horse is still among the chances, but take either Happilababy (Neil Callan) or Eastern Express (Karis Teetan) as banker ahead of Desmios (Gerald Mosse) and Top Ace (Vincent Cheminaud).