A bout of lameness delayed a likely breakthrough win for Namjong Invincible two weeks ago, but the three-year-old is back and ready for a maiden victory on the final day of the season on Sunday at Sha Tin.
Paul O’Sullivan’s charge was desperately close to winning at start three just six weeks ago when close over 1,400m behind Home Run, and with the help of a much better draw can go one better in the opening leg of a jackpot-boosted Triple Trio.
Wide barrier aside, Namjong Invincible should have won last start, his momentum was halted on numerous occasions in the straight – not least of all the interference late that saw him elevated from third to second on protest, as Zac Purton rode for luck and found none.
Lameness, which saw the horse scratched from a race late last month, within two weeks of a race start isn’t a great sign, but judging by his three gallops since, Namjong Invincible’s work hasn’t been affected too much by the setback.
It is the blessing of another low draw that should make the youngster incredibly hard to beat in what is admittedly a competitive Class Four.
Barrier three will allow Purton a chance to take a closer spot than when he surrendered ground from the jump last time and he will probably need to stay handier too, with a lack of obvious pace in the contest.
Real Supreme seems the designated leader, but who joins him up front is up for grabs, Forever Accurate won’t be far away and if first starter Descendant (Nash Rawiller) jumps clean, he could be settling in the first four.
Include Descendant, but the other potential banker is Team Sweet, with Joao Moreira back on for the first time in three starts and having drawn two.
From there take a couple that finally found form last start – Baba Mama (Derek Leung Ka-chun) and A Beautiful (Alex Lai Hoi-wing), while Joy Plus Fun (Neil Callan) is a likely improver.
The TT carries a HK$6.7 million jackpot, but will be a tough one to crack, and to help keep things open in the final leg, take a double banker in the middle pin, a 1,400m Class Four.
Superior Boy (Purton) and Packing Starcraft (Callan) are the two to standout here in another race where tempo could play a big part.
Superior Boy was unlucky to not finish closer when fourth last start, being boxed in for much of the straight, and looks the type that might appreciate more time and space to wind up.
From gate three and a spot up near the speed with the rail in the B+2, he should be better positioned than Packing Starcraft, with Callan seemingly forced to go back from gate 12.
Still, it is impossible to ignore Packing Starcraft’s debut at Happy Valley, where the raw talent was on and off the bit early and flashed home for fourth.
This time he will be better for that run, a step up to 1,400m is perfect and he should appreciate the bigger track.
Also include another son of Starcraft, Fine With Me (Douglas Whyte), with blinkers on for the first time, Rewarding Flyer (Moreira), Home Run (Rawiller) and Geronimo Meadow (Brett Prebble).
The final leg looks the toughest to negotiate with a number of chances in a 1,600m Class Three.
Unique Joyous (Moreira) has bounced out of Class Five with three straight wins and seems the best banker, but keep a close watch on Energetic Class – with jockey Jacky Tong Chi-kit chasing a fairy-tale ending to his career.
Golden Sleep (Karis Teetan), Enormous Honour (Rawiller) and General Sherman (Matthew Chadwick) are the others to consider.