Lucky Girl might be a funny name for a four-year-old gelding but Dennis Yip Chor-hong’s Australian import won’t need to be much of a man to figure in a weak opening leg of the Triple Trio at Sha Tin tomorrow.
Taking Lucky Girl, with the in-form Silvestre de Sousa aboard, as a double banker with Peter Ho Leung’s promising three-year-old and likely race favourite Leading Horse can kick things off in a TT that becomes harder to negotiate in the final two legs.
Lucky Girl’s credentials before arriving with Yip – runner-up in a 1,000m maiden at the Sunshine Coast at his solitary start – were about as unimpressive as résumés come for a Private Purchase. Yet the son of Onemorenomore has progressed nicely and his performances have improved with time through three starts and extra distance.
After a first-up fifth behind handy sprinters Fabulous One and New Asia Sunrise over 1,200m in November, a step up to 1,400m saw Lucky Girl put the writing on the wall with a tough run-on effort.
Given a testing ride by Gerald Mosse, he was sent forward and when failing to find a one-off spot, sat deep without cover in a fast run race. Mosse was forced to take off early and Lucky Girl hit the front in the straight, only to be nabbed by swoopers late, finishing two lengths away in third.
The form from that New Year’s Day contest doesn’t look particularly strong, nor is the fact Lucky Girl started 30-1 all that encouraging, but Yip’s horse finds a contest sorely lacking in depth and where he could get the perfect race set-up.
A mile looks ideal now and if de Sousa can find a softer run for Lucky Girl there should be sufficient speed for the closers to figure.
Club Life’s best performances have been from in front, and Zac Purton will have to push across from barrier 13 – while he should be included, there could be competition for the front from horses wider in the market. Bishop’s Leap and Pearl Furu, with Jack Wong Ho-nam up, look likely candidates to take forward roles.
That leaves Joao Moreira, pending a fitness test following his fall at Happy Valley on Wednesday night, with a challenge on Leading Horse – from gate two he will have to make use of his barrier, but he will still hope to stay out of the firing line.
Ho has stuck to his promise of taking a gentle approach with Leading Horse, now the winner of two of his last three over the Sha Tin mile.
Moreira should be able to sit handy without burning too much petrol early and Leading Horse, the runner that looks to have the most upside at his current rating of 63, should justify what will probably be short odds with another strong showing.
The others to consider are Red Marvel (Ryan Moore) and Golden Sleep (Mosse).
In the middle leg, Grand Plus (Moore) looks well-placed with a lovely draw against an average field in a 1,200m dirt race.
The John Size-trained galloper usually hits the frame over the course and distance and this Class Four doesn’t look as difficult an assignment as he has faced previously.
Also include Spitfire (de Sousa), London Master (Wong) and Confucius Spirit (Douglas Whyte).
In the final leg, a Class Four mile back on the turf, take Right Call (Moreira) as banker, ahead of Unicorn (Purton), Good Method (Derek Leung Ka-chun) and Unique Happiest (Moore).