Form around Hong Kong Classic Cup runner-up Seasons Bloom has Tony Cruz-trained youngster Regency Bo Bo looking like a standout selection for those chasing a slice of a jackpot-boosted Triple Trio on Monday.
Regency Bo Bo was second to Seasons Bloom in what is starting to shape as a very strong form race from New Year’s Day and he looks well placed in Class Three at the Lunar New Year meeting.
Even though Seasons Bloom won quite convincingly and carried 12 pounds more than the runner-up, there was still plenty to like about Regency Bo Bo’s effort, especially considering he is still only three.
After a successful switch of tactics at his previous start from a wide draw, Regency Bo Bo was again sent forward, this time from gate 14 and his ability to stick on was commendable.
And not only did Seasons Bloom run a great second to Rapper Dragon in the Hong Kong Classic Mile but the third-placegetter, the John Size-trained Beat The Clock, was a dominant three-and-a-half-length winner at his next start.
Now Regency Bo Bo (Neil Callan) draws barrier one in the Kung Hei Handicap, the first time the son of Denman has drawn single figures after coming up with gates 10, 13, 13 and 14 at his first four starts.
The biggest danger here is another Size-trained three-year-old with some scope, Money Boy (Joao Moreira).
Money Boy sneaks into Class Three as bottom weight after a narrow defeat to Five Up High last start with 133 pounds in Class Four and can be considered as a double banker option.
From there take Tang Fleming (Nash Rawiller) and Little Devil (Matthew Chadwick), as he steps up to what looks a more ideal 1,400m.
The other obvious banker option in the TT is Size’s potential star sprinter Mr Stunning (Moreira), who will start favourite in the second leg.
Mr Stunning comes into the Fat Choi Handicap (Class Two) off a third, beaten one length as even money favourite over 1,200m at Sha Tin on New Year’s Day.
Now Size switches Mr Stunning to the straight, a quirky and biased course that can bring favourites undone, but at least the exciting prospect drew closer to the grandstand rail in gate 11.
Mr Stunning was pegged as one of the young horses to watch this term and while many felt he would be rated higher by now, his progression has been stalled by some bad luck, both in running and at the barrier draws.
Outside of the obvious favourite, this is a very tricky race, with Adventurer (Umberto Rispoli) dropping back into the more comfortable confines of Class Two after finding Group Three company too difficult.
If Adventurer is at his best, this could settle down into a race in two, with the two speed horses duelling up in front along the outside rail.
Take Mr Stunning and Adventurer as double bankers, along with My Little Friend (Olivier Doleuze) and stable transfer Mythical Emperor (Brett Prebble), after his recent solid trial.
In the opening leg, the 1,200m Lucky Star Handicap (Class Four), take Star Of Patch (Zac Purton) as banker, from Daring Fit (Callan), Superior Boy (Moreira) and Robust Momentum (Karis Teetan).
Star Of Patch will wear sheepskin cheek pieces for the first time after trainer Paul O’Sullivan and Purton felt the gear change could help the three-year-old race more genuinely.
The last start winner trialled in sheepskin cheek pieces impressively last week on the dirt at Sha Tin.