Bidding for a second Hong Kong trainers’ championship, Ricky Yiu is optimistic promising talent Excellent Fighter can continue the stable’s excellent run with a strong performance in the Class 3 CUHK Alumni Cup Handicap (1200m) at Sha Tin on Sunday (26 March).
With five wins from his past 14 runners in a streak crowned by Voyage Bubble’s fabulous BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) triumph last Sunday (19 March), Yiu has amassed 42 victories for the season to sit in second place in the 2022/23 trainers’ championship – five behind 11-time champion John Size (47).
Yiu, champion trainer in 2019/20, is upbeat Excellent Fighter can continue the stable’s tremendous run under Silvestre de Sousa after a powerful last-start Class 4 win over 1200m while carrying 132lb.
“The jockey knows him well, last start he led and won in good style,” Yiu said. “I think he’s the kind of horse who doesn’t necessarily have to lead, but he can be in a positive position and then finish off well.
“I think he’s a very honest horse, an up-and-coming horse that I have a high opinion of. He goes up to Class 3 this time but he carries a lot lighter weight (122lb) and I think he showed good ability. I think he can handle Class 3.”
Jamie Richards hopes impressive stable momentum following a double at last Wednesday’s (22 March) Happy Valley meeting can set the scene for a breakthrough win for Galvanic in the Class 4 New Asia Alumni Handicap (1400m) despite a daunting barrier draw for Vincent Ho.
“The horse is going well, it’s just frustrating with the barrier draw again (gate 13), he’s drawn out,” said Richards, who has 20 wins so far in his Hong Kong debut season. “We’ll just have to see how the race shapes and make a plan from that.
“It would have been a lot easier for the horse to step up to 1400m from a good gate but he’s going well and I’m sure he’ll run well again.”
A three-year-old by Ilovethiscity, Galvanic has finished second at his past two 1200m attempts at Sha Tin.
Seasons Wit, another last-start runner-up for Richards, will contest the Class 3 Shaw Alumni Handicap (1000m) from barrier nine under Zac Purton.
“He ran well on debut, Class 3 for three-year-olds is never easy and he did a good job,” Richards said of the Capitalist gelding who won a Morphettville 1200m Maiden as a two-year-old for Anthony and Sam Freedman when racing as Eros in July, 2022.
“He’s had a trialled down the (Sha Tin straight), he should be competitive again and hopefully he’s a progressive horse. The horse is going well and hopefully he can hold his form.”
Keith Yeung partners Happy Daily in the Class 3 Faculty Of Education Alumni Handicap (1400m), hopeful the gelding can post his second win of the season at the track and distance for trainer Peter Ho.
“He’s a lovely horse to ride,” Yeung said. “We’ve got a good barrier (gate four) this time and we’re going to ride him close to the speed and I think that’s the best way to ride him.
“He’s easy to ride and he gives you confidence. I think he will run well.”
Yeung’s confidence is largely based on Happy Daily’s 1400m record at Sha Tin, where he has collected all three of his career wins – the most recent on 16 October, when he downed A Pal and Happy Day after starting from gate three.
Sunday’s Sha Tin card starts with the Class 4 CW Chu And Lee Woo Sing Alumni Handicap (1200m) at 12.45pm (AEDT 15:45).
– News from Hong Kong Jockey Club