John Size-trained three-year-old Volitation should appreciate a step up in distance on Sunday at Sha Tin and stands out as banker as he goes for back-to-back wins in the final leg of the Triple Trio.
Volitation was encouraging at 1,200m before breaking through with an incredibly tough win at his third start, over 1,400m, and has a pedigree that suggests that 1,600m shouldn’t be a problem.
The New Zealand-bred gelding is by 2009 Melbourne Cup winner Shocking and if there were any doubts about Volitation’s stamina before his last start win, they were erased when he did it the hard way.
Joao Moreira went in search of a handy spot on Volitation but ended up posted three wide up near the speed and with little help from a strong early tempo. Despite the gut-busting run, Volitation still won by half a length – and although it could have been by even further, the relatively narrow margin probably preserved his handicap and ensured he stayed in Class Four.
Volitation jumps just six ratings points to carry 131 pounds in a standard-looking Class Four, the bonus being barrier two for a horse that should relish a chance to box-seat.
Sitting close to the speed does look to be advantageous in a race containing very few, if any, noted leaders, and this time Moreira looks like getting the gun run.
Little Fantasy could push up from barrier one and it will be interesting to see if Good Good View (Gavin Lerena), back in trip with blinkers back on, or Gorgeous Legend (Ryan Moore) make a play from wider gates.
Include Good Good View and Gorgeous Legend as pace plays, while also throw in Team Sweet (Tommy Berry) and So Caffe (Olivier Doleuze) – although they will both be disadvantaged by a slowly run race.
So Caffe should be reaching his best after seeming a little underdone when third over the course and distance last time out.
In a wide-open first leg of the TT go with the Size-Moreira combination again with Diego Kosta after the three-year-old scoped with mucus when unplaced last start.
Fantastic Feeling (Karis Teetan) returns to Sha Tin for the second time and the first time this term after some solid form at Happy Valley, with the change of scenery and blinkers back on to help.
Multimax (Douglas Whyte) jumps up into Class Three with barrier three, with Whyte likely to sit outside Borntoachieve as he chases a soft run.
Tactics will be interesting with Wild Boy (Keith Yeung Ming-lun) – he has the speed to challenge for the front from a wide draw, yet he is still a query at 1,200m despite having won over the course and distance, with his best efforts coming with the help of low barriers.
The middle leg is the Group Three Queen Mother Memorial Cup, one of three 2,400m races on the calendar and where tactics are sure to play a big part.
Victory Magic was a dominant winner over 2,200m last start, beating six of the eight rivals he faces here, and looks the obvious favourite and banker under Zac Purton.
Giovanni Canaletto (Moreira) has been screaming out for this trip but his lack of acceleration at the end of a race could still see him left behind at the 400m when they sprint in a stop-start contest.
Also include Mr Gnocchi (Teetan), Basic Trilogy (Derek Leung Ka-chun) and Ambitious Champion (Chad Schofield).