Trainer Caspar Fownes is the man to beat in Hong Kong each season in the “mini championship” to be leading trainer at the Happy Valley track and this Wednesday he is throwing everything at the meeting there to keep himself in overall championship contention.
Fownes has runners in every race that will line up as chances and, while Zac Purton’s jockey championship chance appears to have gone after missing the last two race meetings with illness, he will team with most of the Fownes runners and looks set for a good night.
One of the most interesting is Royal Partner in the seventh, with blinkers going on the former Australian four-year-old who has yet to score in 10 Hong Kong runs.
Royal Partner has looked a winner in waiting since he dropped to Class Three and seems at his best at the Valley, where he was an eye-catching second two starts ago over the same 1,200m trip. Royal Partner has an ideal drawn in gate two on the C rail placement – the third widest – and looks a strong play.
Fownes and Purton open with Gracytom in the first race, back to Class Five and a Happy Valley sprint, which has been the recipe for his three career wins, and the trainer also has blinkers on Great Alexander in the second race for the first time. The maiden four-year-old has always shown some ability but has been quite erratic at times, and the change of gear looks like Fownes turning the screws to get that first victory out of him.
In the fourth it is Brett Prebble who partners Fownes-trained Lovely Boy, but he put the writing on the wall for an early win last week when he had his first run for the trainer and improved sharply for a close second.
By Nathan Mody