Perfect Pair (117lb) is aiming to bag an ideal trio for trainer Chris So in the finale at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (1 May), the Class 3 Hung Hom Handicap (1650m).
The Darci Brahma gelding has made good strides since a debut ninth in January – behind the rising star Full Of Beauty. He followed that with a smart third and then back-to-back wins over 1400m at Sha Tin to put himself within shot of a hat-trick.
The four-year-old’s midweek assignment is his first at the city track, first at the distance and first above Class 4 in Hong Kong.
“I think he needs to go further, even his last run he looked like he needed a longer distance, he only won by a short-head last time so we’ve put him in the 1650 (metres),” So said.
“It’s his first start in Class 3, so I’ll be happy to see him run well but he seems to have improved again since that run. He trialled well and he’s going good but the draw is a big worry. We need to think about what we’ll do with him from gate 12. But the horse is still improving and I think the extra ground will help him.”
Joao Moreira was aboard Perfect Pair for his two wins but the former champ must fulfil obligations to his retained stable and ride the John Size-trained top-weight Marzouq. That means Regan Bayliss will be in the plate for the New Zealand-bred galloper’s first outing at the city track.
“Happy Valley should be suitable for this horse,” So added. “He’s relaxed and finds it easy to race handy but from the wide gate I need to sit down and look at how the race might shape. He likes to switch off handy but I think, if he can’t get in, he might be able to sit back, we’ll have to see.”