With Douglas Whyte and Zac Purton due to start suspensions on January 2, there will be opportunities coming up for other rides to close in on the top pair but both will be looking to put some runs on the board at Happy Valley on Friday night.
Purton’s best look to be in the final two races, with Elegance Klammer for John Moore and Simple for Dennis Yip – both have drawn inside barriers, which are a serious plus on the widest rail placement at the Valley, the C+3.
Purton in fact replaces Whyte on Simple, who was wide when beaten out of a place on the all-weather at his last run but his prior form was strong.
With Whyte has a number of good rides and Very Well, with only three runs for the Derek Cruz stable, looking one of his best in race four. Very Well charged home for third in an on-pace dominated race last start on International Jockey Championship night and should have a more suitable pace this time.
One race later, Whyte teams up again with Bundle Of Love, sensationally-backed and arguably unlucky when he finished second to Romantic City last start over the same 1000m trip.
Inexperienced apprentices in Hong Kong have to wait for permission to start riding at the tricky Happy Valley track, even after their careers are well under way at Sha Tin.
Friday night will be the first Happy Valley rides for the latest 10-pound claimer, Dicky Lui, and his boss, Ricky Yiu, has given him a great chance to land a winner.
Honest Class 4 miler, Fortune Bravo doesn’t have the best of draws in gate nine, but he is a simple go-forward horse and Lui will likely look for the lead, keep things simple and hope for his 10-pounds claim to come into play.
By Alan Aitken