And so the Hong Kong trainers’ championship for 2012-13 goes down to the final meeting at Happy Valley on Wednesday night, with Tony Cruz two wins behind Dennis Yip in a mirror image of the situation two years ago.
In 2011, Cruz went to the last Sha Tin card two in front but was swamped by John Moore, who landed four wins on the day to win his first title in almost two decades.
This time the leader, Yip, is the one with history to make as he has never won a championship since taking up his licence ten years ago but he was foreman for Brian Kan, the last Chinese trainer to win it, in 2001.
Mathematically, John Size can still win and has an unusually strong team for the Valley, a track where he is not the presence he is at Sha Tin, but the task looks too hard – he needs at least four of his seven runners to win and that’s if Yip does not train a winner. Size has winning chances in King Haradasun, Dr Good Habit, Bundle Of Love, Red Courage and Red Dancer but his role might be more of spoiler for one of his rivals’ hopes.
Yip has thrown everything at the title and his runners on Wednesday feature several which have already run at least once in the past 10 days, including excellent back-up chances in Ray’s Favourite (race four), unlucky when caught wide last week, and Mr Gourmet (race six), placed on Sunday at Sha Tin. But he might have left his best until last with improving Flying Elite (Ben So) looking the likely favourite in the final race of the season. Surely one win would seal it.
Cruz has six runners with chances but none stands out, the best of them could be Bullish Boy in the fourth.
By Nathan Mody