A better draw on the all-weather track can make all the difference for Ho Lee Horse at Wednesday’s all-dirt meeting at Sha Tin, where the Richard Gibson-trained galloper looks a nice banker in the opening leg of the Triple Trio.
Two starts ago, a switch to the dirt brought about a first win in 14 local starts for Gibson’s five-year-old – an import that had dropped to a rating of 49 through some far less convincing displays on turf.
Ho Lee Horse didn’t just win, though – he was able to romp in by three lengths, and finding the lead on the dirt was key.
Next time out, over the same 1,650m but with eight more pounds, Chad Schofield again hunted forward but this time had his hopes of finding the front thwarted by three horses drawn below him and pushing up as he made the short run to the first turn.
Schofield was forced to sit three wide with no cover as Expedite dictated proceedings from in front, but Ho Lee Horse in no way disgraced as he battled to the line in fourth.
Ho Lee Horse faces the same three horses that kept him wide last time, but the big difference this time is that they are all drawn outside him and it should be Schofield finding the fence first and controlling the tempo.
From barrier four Ho Lee Horse should lead, with Expedite this time jumping from 14 and worth opposing.
Cheerful Frame (Neil Callan) and Diamond Friends (Joao Moreira) are the others back for a rematch and they go in despite tricky draws.
Prompt Express (Karis Teetan) gets a chance as he comes to the dirt for the first time and could ensure Schofield doesn’t get his own way in front, while Happy Moments (Zac Purton) has performed well enough on the surface to win here and is the other one to include.
A step up to 1,800m should help Benno Yung Tin-pang-trained Entrusting (Purton in the second leg, a horse that is yet to win in 18 starts but has found the line well at his last two.
Although drawn wide again, this trip looks where Entrusting is most likely to get a result after a good season in Class Four.
Entrusting’s get-back style doesn’t help much on this circuit, but there should be plenty of pressure up front here and hopefully the front-runners are tiring late.
Rock The Tree (Brett Prebble) goes better on the surface and must go in, while Sempiternal (Moreira) and Sure Peace (Douglas Whyte) are the others to throw in.
The final leg is a cracking Class Two contest over 1,200m where Sichuan Vigour (Moreira) can go in as a clear standout from Brilliant Dream (Ben So Tik-hung), Archippus (Callan) and Fight Hero (Derek Leung Ka-chun).