Paul O’Sullivan chimed in with a double on Sunday at Sha Tin that may only have taken him to middle of the Hong Kong trainers’ table, but the New Zealander has taken a different approach this year by running fewer horses and returning a high strike rate in the process.
Few trainers in Hong Kong turn in a double figure percentage but that’s where O’Sullivan is at present and his two runners at Happy Valley on Wednesday night will both offer chances to improve on that.
In the Class Five to open the night, O’Sullivan saddles up one-time Mick Price tenant Sunseeker, with the trainer’s former apprentice Derek Leung on board.
There are no two ways about it, Sunseeker has been a gross disappointment in Hong Kong since arriving as a three-year-old in 2010, unable to win a race in his 23 starts, and that’s why he has found himself in the cellar grade.
But, since joining O’Sullivan during the last off-season, the grey has begun to show a little more form, finishing well for fifth two runs back at Sha Tin then rushing home for second two weeks ago at Happy Valley in a sign that he is just about ready to break through.
O’Sullivan has also turned around the career of his other runner, Able Magic in the fourth race, an erratic type as a younger horse who has had 8 starts for the trainer now for his only two wins and six other minor prizemoney cheques.
Placed at his last two Happy Valley runs over 1,650m in Class Four, he also has Leung aboard and finds himself back at the same course and distance in a similar race and with the benefit of gate one on the C+3 course, the widest rail placement which usually favours inside draws heavily.
By Nathan Mody