Joao Moreira is within striking distance of another piece of history and his rides in the Triple Trio races alone on Sunday at Sha Tin could be enough to propel him into record-breaking range for wins in a season.
Moreira needs two wins to equal his own record of 145 in a season, set last term, with Home Run and Flying Force both looking likely to get the right race set-up from good draws in the first two legs of the TT.
It’s not without significance that both horses were building into some form under Douglas Whyte – the previous record holder for wins in a season – before the South African was replaced by Moreira in a common pattern that has become a sign of the times.
Me Tsui Yu-sak opted for Moreira last start on Home Run after two encouraging efforts over 1,200m, and up at 1,400m, the three-year-old was beaten just a length by Bulb Master. Now, the Magic Man rides again at 1,400m.
The difference this time will be a better draw, three, after Moreira opted for conservative tactics and went back from barrier eight last time. He can be a little more positive here, although there still looks enough speed to assist the backmarkers.
Real Supreme has been racing well, but he will have to work hard to get across from gate 13 and won’t get much peace with Kei Chiong Ka-kei aboard Dashing Fortune also hunting forward. Then, if Keith Yeung Ming-lun has designs on finding a handy spot on Plenty Of Speed, drawn 14, it could create a solid tempo.
Be wary of the front runners, but maybe include Super Man (Nash Rawiller) – he led last start and stuck on well for second when those around him folded.
A strong pace would help Paul O’Sullivan’s promising three-year-old Namjong Invincible (Zac Purton) and he can be used as a possible double banker.
The youngster showed some resilience last start after a torrid three-wide run and should get an easier time here at his third start.
The market might unfairly abandon yet another three-year-old, John Size-trained House Of Fun – especially with Vincent Ho Chak-yiu replacing Moreira – but plenty of horses fail first-up at the Valley and the son of Starcraft might be better suited by a strongly run 1,400m.
Who’sthedude is the other one to include and – even though he has raced on the speed – gate four should allow Karis Teetan a lovely run behind the leading group.
The Class Three middle leg should be another race run at a better than average tempo, as the barrier draw created a real wildcard with Malmsteen out in gate 14 with Chiong aboard.
How the apprentice handles the hard-going type will be key and from the wide gate it seems she will have little choice other than to go to the front and find the rail.
Still include Malmsteen, but this could get ugly up front with Multimax and Alvin Ng Ka-chun jumping from barrier 12.
Both are going well enough to be chances, but if they tear along it will create the ideal scenario for Flying Force, with the Dennis Yip Chor-hong import producing some eye-catching efforts over 1,000m at Happy Valley recently.
A strongly run 1,200m might seem like a query on paper, but it is offset by barrier four, from where Flying Force is drawn to get the run of the race behind the speed.
Carefree Let Go (Yeung) looks a great show from barrier two as he heads up in grade after a series of placings in Class Four, and is a double banker option if looking to play narrow.
Also include Wild Boy (Chad Schofield), who was blocked for a run last time when he looked to be looming dangerously at the Valley, and also Hard Ball Get (Neil Callan), although there are always some concerns with a horse returning first-up after a heavy fall.
The final leg, another 1,400m Class Four, could be the trickiest to get through and play as wide as possible if using double bankers in the first two legs.
Tony Millard’s Ah Bo (Teetan) is a hard one to catch, but gets another chance on a mark off which he looks dangerous – in fact, he won this very same race last year – and he can be used as a banker.
From there take Bulb Master (Rawiller), Fashion Maestro (Purton) and Beauty Kingdom (Chiong).