A HK$16.1 million jackpot into the Triple Trio on Sunday at Sha Tin will lead to a pool rarely seen these days so horseplayers will be putting plenty of time into their studies and could do a lot worse than follow the combination that was so impressive last weekend.
Top Beautiful was a terrific winner at his debut and his ownermate, A Beautiful, will be the banker for many Triple Trio combinations in race five on Sunday, paired like his younger stablemate with champion jockey Joao Moreira.
A Beautiful has looked good in his two Class Four wins over 1,400m but failed to quite measure up when he has been raised a grade and now he drops back from some modest form in Class Three at the end of last season.
Trainer Chris So Wai-yin has got his team up and firing early and this looks the right assignment for A Beautiful, especially after drawing gate five.
Michael Freedman has his first runner, seven-year-old Silverfield (Chad Schofield) and the grey found some form for Gary Ng Ting-keung last season including a win in a similar assignment in February.
Coincidentally, Ng was the prior handler of the first winner for the other freshman trainer Frankie Lor Fu-chuen last Sunday and Silverfield’s work suggests he will be competitive too.
That pair could make an anchoring double banker for TT plays, with the likes of Red Elysees, Wushu Champion, Morethanlucky and The Full Bloom commanding place spots.
In the opening leg, Wednesday night’s winner Catchmeifyoucan backs up and looks just as well suited by 1,400m as he was by 1,200m, but punters will focus their attention at the top of the handicaps.
Wingold (Zac Purton) has not been an easy horse to get right as his poor win rate shows but he is back to Class Five, where his previous four attempts have brought a win and two seconds, so he will become very competitive again here.
The other topweight with a flashing light on him is Moreira’s ride, Good Method, who has only had the Magic Man once before and won a Class Five last October rated 40 on that occasion. He looks well placed again off a 38 rating.
Still, this is an open race, with another Class Five staple, Plain Blue Banner (Douglas Whyte) sure to have admirers, as will Striking Star, Furious Pegasus and lightweights on the seven day back-up, Starry Starlies, Telecom Boom and Le Pegase.
A drop in class for Deja Vu looks crucial in the final leg as racing returns to the all-weather track on Sunday.
Almond Lee’s three-time winner over the dirt sprint course comes down to Class Four, giving him the right opportunity to get back into the winner’s circle.
He will find strong opposition from Star Superior (Moreira), who was in form on this surface late last season and they look an ideal pair of bankers but there is a decent tail for place inclusions.
Massive Move, Startling Power, Starlot, Flying Godspell – returning to the dirt after a clean out run at Happy Valley midweek – Amazing Moment and even Hinyuen Swiftness, another with a class drop, all have claims to hitting the board for a place at least.