SERIOUS form book students are once again faced by the dilemma of perennial place-getter Rocket Spade seeking to defy top-weight and record an overdue first Hong Kong win in the Sam Chuk Handicap (2.45pm) over nine furlongs.
The former New Zealand Derby winner has had his supporters tearing their hair out with frustration this season, having victory snatched away on numerous occasions, including three times by either a short-head or a nose.
Having looked all over the winner when last seen over the course and distance three weeks ago, he was eventually collared by subsequent winner Meaningful Star, with rivals Majestic Victory (fourth) and Turin Mascot (fifth) close-up behind.
The Tony Cruz-trained Majestic Victory has an important jockey change this time, with Zac Purton taking over the steering.
It’s worth highlighting that when Cruz and Purton join forces, they already have an impressive 39 percent win strike-rate this season, and you can guarantee they won’t be missed on the odds board.
A better alternative, however, could be to support the lightly-raced but improving TURIN MASCOT, who finished strongly in the closing stages in that race won by Meaningful Star, clocking the fastest closing sectional time.
This Pierre Ng-trained gelding, formerly known as In Ecstasy when trained in Ireland by Joseph O’Brien, is already a winner of three races over a mile and now looks in peak condition.
He is closely matched with both Rocket Spade and Majestic Victory on his recent form and is capable of further improvement. Any rain at the track would be a plus.
Turin Mascot (e/w) 2.45pm Happy Valley