Paul O’Sullivan-trained speedster Harbour Alert looks ready to break through after a solid first outing for his new stable and can act as banker in what should be a high-pressure opening leg of tomorrow night’s Triple Trio at Happy Valley.
When Harbour Alert arrived with O’Sullivan via stable transfer from Derek Cruz in early March, the Australian-bred four-year-old hadn’t done much wrong – except he had not won.
Despite having a zero in the win column next to his name, Harbour Alert’s rating has actually gone up through 12 starts, his relatively consistent efforts garnering five minor placings and another four fourths, pushing his mark up to a peak of 70 from an initial assessment of 65.
While 1,200m has been a stretch for Harbour Alert, 1,000m looks ideal, and after an excellent first run over that course and distance for O’Sullivan two weeks ago, the grey gelding returns to his pet course and distance again and has drawn barrier one.
Drawing pole position over the 1,000m course – which from above looks something like a 400m drag strip, followed by a hairpin turn and a short dash home – isn’t necessarily advantageous; in this case, though, it does seem suitable for a horse more than capable of maintaining a handy spot in a race where the lead is likely to be hotly contested.
Last start Harbour Alert found himself on a C+3 course clearly favouring leaders and was chasing throughout, sitting behind wire-to-wire winner Diamond Master.
This time. there will be no shortage of horses wanting to be near the front – in fact, finding one of the many in form runners that doesn’t always race handy is difficult.
Brett Prebble retains the ride on Harbour Alert and should be ideally placed once the field settles into some type of order. Harbour Alert might be the only horse possible to peg down to a likely spot in the run – he will either be box seat, one or two back on the fence depending on the speed, and none of those options looks bad here.
Next best is Triumphant Jewel (Zac Purton), a horse that has raced better than a one from 12 record this season indicates. Danny Shum Chap-shing’s sprinter has a solid track and distance record, and from barrier three, perhaps Purton can find a one-off spot just off the speed and watch those around him fight for more forward positions – the five-year-old will be strong late.
Triumphant Jewel meets Sky Man (Karis Teetan) three pounds better off for their last start clash, but include the latter also, along with Buddy Bundy (Chad Schofield) and Top Bonus (Joao Moreira).
In the second leg, a Class Three over 1,650m, play around with a clear top three of King Of Mongolia (Nash Rawiller), Magical Beauty (Purton) and Tom’s Charm (Moreira).
Outside of that, it is an extremely difficult race to nail down.
Lucky Hammer’s lead-up trial may suck a few followers in but the horse is first-up off a stable transfer following a bleeding attack in January, so instead, take either Amazingly (Kei Chiong Ka-kei) or Golden Sun (Gavin Lerena) – he should appreciate a step up in trip after a quiet, but decent enough, 1,600m trial on the turf at Sha Tin.
In the final leg, a 1,650m Class Four, take either Moreira’s ride Newswire Free, or an in-form horse he jumps off, Rapid Triumph (Derek Leung Ka-chun), as banker, or maybe even play both as a double banker to extend options elsewhere.
Again, it’s slim pickings after the top selections, but include Danewin Express (Purton), Spinning Dancer (Lerena) and Noble De Man (Chiong).