Hit The Bid has been a model of consistency on the dirt and even with top weight the Tony Millard-trained sprinter has the look of a dependable banker in the opening leg of the Triple Trio at Sha Tin on Sunday.
Two wins from 25 starts usually isn’t an overall record to instil much confidence but scratch the surface and you find a horse with a liking for the dirt and an uncanny knack of finishing close and filling a place throughout his career.
The son of Commands, whose versatile progeny have thrived on the all-weather track, has been placed 13 times and finished top four in all but seven runs – a strike rate that jumps significantly on the dirt.
The tight inner circuit is certainly where the five-year-old has shown his best with both of his wins coming over Sunday’s course and distance of 1,200m.
Hit The Bid at one stage late last season looked a horse that might struggle up in Class Three, but this term has raced exclusively in the grade and competed well, with all of his six starts over the same course and distance, bringing a win and just one unplaced run.
Joao Moreira, who won on the horse two starts back, retains the ride for the fourth straight start and gets gate six – not the worst draw on the dirt and from where he should be able to assess the speed and find a handy one-off spot.
Grand Plus (Brett Prebble) won in grand style last start, but a 10-point hike for a horse with 32 starts to his name is a serious mountain to climb, and gate one isn’t ideal for a horse not blessed with electric gate speed.
Still, he is again the sort of consistent course specialist that can’t be ignored in this level of race and goes in, along with a horse with a similar profile, Turin Pearl (Derek Leung Ka-chun).
Last start winner Presidentparamount (Ryan Moore) comes to the dirt for the first time but deserves serious consideration, even back in trip, with his fitness and his racing style sure to be suited by this sort of contest. From there, take either Elite Spirit (Chad Schofield) or Sky Man (Karis Teetan).
The second leg, a 1,400m Class Four, is a tough race to find a solid banker, with leading contender Right Call (Moreira) drawn wide in a contest where going forward could be tricky.
Bank on the John Size factor anyway, hoping the lightly raced four-year-old takes a step up and moves into Class Three with a big performance.
From there, Ryan Moore looks the right type of jockey to get Unique Joyful motivated, while Argentum (Christophe Soumillon) is finally finding form, as is Fashion Maestro (Nash Rawiller), who gets gate one.
Royale Elegance (Tommy Berry) should appreciate the anticipated speed in this race and he looms as a knockout chance.
The Group One Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup is the final leg, where again we look to consistency, with Tony Cruz-trained Blazing Speed (Neil Callan) a standout.
Take him ahead of Military Attack (Zac Purton), Dan Excel (Teetan), Giant Treasure (Soumillon) and Designs On Rome (Berry).