A blow-out result at the Lunar New Year Triple Trio ensured a big carry-over jackpot for Sunday’s fixture at Sha Tin and Dennis Yip Chor-hong’s emerging talent Generous Heart looks the best banker.
The presence of rank outsider Association Fans in the final leg of the Monday’s big TT meant only a portion of the pool was taken and Sunday’s jackpot is close to HK$19 million, creating an estimated dividend of HK$29 million.
Generous Heart (Zac Purton) is creeping closer to a first win and a better draw can help the four-year-old break through after an unlucky last-start performance as favourite.
After a closing effort on debut after being outpaced early over 1,200m, Yip put blinkers on for the chestnut’s second start but severe interference saw the horse almost brought down in the straight.
Despite being nearly flattened, Generous Heart picked up well to find the line at the end of a more suitable 1,400m and was sent out 3.1 top pick last start, only to find trouble again.
Again drawn wide over 1,400m, Generous Heart was about to settle into a nice spot behind midfield when the front-runners slowed up in the middle stages, jamming into the face of back-markers.
Generous Heart subsequently lost momentum and race position, spotting the leader and eventual winner Five Up High more than seven lengths at the top of the straight.
As the first two around the turn, Five Up High and Money Boy, fought out the finish, Generous Heart was eating up the ground late, flashing home in the fastest final 400m sectional to end up a length away in third.
Even though Generous Heart has been ridden conservatively so far, it has been due to the draw at his last two and the American-bred gelding’s trials show he has some early speed.
Purton won’t be trying to lead or even push too hard in a race where the presence of a few front-runners should ensure a genuine clip on the C course, but he won’t have to be held hostage to his barrier this time either.
In fact gate two presents as perfect, with a box seat sit behind likely leader Good Method (Dylan Mo Hin-tung) and Grand Harbour (Olivier Doleuze).
Yip and Purton have a strong history together over the past six seasons, combining for 68 wins at a strike rate of 17 per cent, but this term they have tallied just three from 34.
That should turn around as the season progresses and Garlic Yeah pushed things along with his victory on Thursday night.
Early in the day, the duo seem to have a great chance up the straight with debutant Corre Rapido in the Cineraria Handicap.
The four-year-old had already trialled in New Zealand and has hit the ground running, stepping nicely and showing a decent cruising speed in three comfortable trials up the straight.
Corre Rapido is one of four first starters, with Bravo Watchman (Joao Moreira), Multigogo (Matthew Chadwick) and Mr Oriole (Silvestre de Sousa).
Mr Oriole might be the odd one out here, as the other three all look above average and will be up on the pace as well.
Corre Rapido is drawn nicely on the advantageous ground in barrier 12 and should be able to slot in beside or behind likely leader Bravo Watchman, who will be joined by Multigogo sliding across from barrier six.
Moreira has his usual solid book of rides, including Helene Charisma in the Group Three Centenary Vase, but also watch for the Brazilian to strike on the dirt with two well-drawn sprinters.
Respect has drawn barrier two in the Daffodil Handicap, while Arizona Blizzard has the same gate in the Peach Blossom Handicap.