Jim McGrath with three fancies at Happy Valley on Wednesday
1.15 Happy Valley
2.45 Happy Valley
3.50 Happy Valley
Ricky P F Yiu is making a determined bid to hold off all challengers in his quest to lift the Hong Kong trainers' title, even calling on popular Antoine Hamelin to partnerSuper Oasis for the first time in the Class2 1m1f handicap (2.45) at Happy Valley.
Yiu, currently on 57 winners, has been out in front for a long time, but with only six weeks of the season remaining rival trainers are snapping at his heels. Tony Cruz, who leads the chasing pack, is only five behind.
Hamelin has become hugely popular, riding 13 winners in two months, which is quite an achievement for one relatively unknown to owners and trainers when he flew in from France to fill a void in the senior jockeys' ranks in early April.
Super Oasis, who finished third in the Group 1 Australian Derby in Sydney, is a major player in this cracking contest, even if Zac Purton has deserted him for Columbus County.
Interestingly both horses came from New Zealand and are maidens in Hong Kong, and when they met over 1m2f at Sha Tin on February 23, two short heads separated the pair as they filled minor placings behind gutsy winner Amazing Beats.
Early positioning will play a big part in deciding the outcome this time, and with Super Oasis drawn nicely in 2, he is likely to slot in behind the pace, while the talented Righteous Doctrine could find himself fighting to get over near the rail from a wide draw (stall 9).
As Righteous Doctrine has a dazzling turn of foot, his rider Chad Schofield will be hoping for a generous pace throughout, which cannot be guaranteed.
The consistent Insayshable, Neil Callan’s mount, also has an inside draw and could easily sneak a place, while Butterfield could benefit from being ridden back in the field.
Yiu and Hamelin can also combine to take the finale, the Class3 6f handicap sprint (3.50), when they combine with the progressive Island Shine, who overcame a wide draw to win over course and distance two starts back. A similar performance would result in a win here.
Earlier on the card, the lightly racedSky Show can land the Class4 6f sprint handicap (1.15) for Purton and Jimmy Ting. Few have impressed as much as Sky Show did last time and he is tipped to climb much higher up the class ladder.
Race 4 (1st leg): 1, 4
Race 5 (2nd leg): 3, 10
Race 6 (3rd leg): 2, 6
Race 7 (4th leg): 4, 7
Race 8 (5th leg): 3, 9
Race 9 (6th leg): 3, 5
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