Horse Racing
A Pair hat-trick would be perfect for Chris So

By David Morgan
30/04/2019 16:02

Perfect Pair wins at Sha Tin.
Perfect Pair wins at Sha Tin.

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.”

Vincy was a good second to Nicconi Express earlier this season.

Champion jockey Zac Purton is slated to ride the Frankie Lor-trained Vincy (131lb) in the race. The Irish import showed promise at his first two Hong Kong starts, the second of those being a runner-up finish over a mile at Sha Tin.

“He put in one really good run behind Nicconi Express and I thought he was going to go on with it from there but he was tried over a little bit further and he seems to be a bit one-paced,” Purton said.

Vincy has had four more races without success, having stretched out to 2000m in two of those contests. His most recent effort saw him a never-threatening fourth over 1800m on the all-weather.

“He’s probably been a bit disappointing,” Purton said. “He hasn’t been closing his races off that well, so I suppose we’re trying a new track and coming back in distance and we’ll see how we go. I don’t know what the key is so we’re just trying to find what will make him click.”

Aldo Domeyer is licensed until the end of the season.
Aldo Domeyer is licensed until the end of the season.

South African connection

Aldo Domeyer rides Arcada (124lb) in the finale, one of three mounts at his first Hong Kong race meeting following his arrival this week on a Jockey Club contract until the end of the season.

“I’m more excited than anything else,” the rider said. “Those tight, fast tracks, I perhaps find more success on those than I have on any other general tracks. I’ve worked two of those horses and I’m optimistic of a decent run.”

Trainer Tony Millard, a fellow South African, has provided all of Domeyer’s Wednesday night rides, kicking off with C P Power and continuing with Prance Dragon, but the pair had never met prior to this week.

“I’ve had a lot of success for Mr. Millard’s father, as an owner, and perhaps a couple of horses in South Africa that he’s been associated with. I’m pretty sure he’s seen me ride some of those horses but this is the first time I’ve officially met him,” Domeyer said.

Chang needs rewards

Confucius Day found his feet last time when third to Waldorf.
Confucius Day found his feet last time when third to Waldorf.

Michael Chang’s limited string has been in fine form of late and the G1-winning handler is looking to reap some deserved rewards to lift his tally up to the Jockey Club-set minimum benchmark of 16 wins in a season. Chang is currently at the foot of the table with 12 on the board.

Confucius Day is one of three Chang-trained runners on the eight-race card, set to break from gate four in the Class 3 Cheung Sha Wan Handicap (1200m).

The four-year-old started his Hong Kong career with three down-the-field finishes but lifted his game last time out to run a fine third behind Waldorf at the course and distance. Umberto Rispoli takes the ride for a fourth time.

“He’s a horse that when he first came to Hong Kong his first trial was very good,” Rispoli said. “I liked the horse and thought he might be able to do something straight away. Unfortunately, he ran last or near last a few times and disappointed, but last time the good draw helped, he travelled well and he showed something in the straight.

“Fortunately, we have a nice draw again; I reckon the field is tougher than last time. If the pace is on he’s going to enjoy that and he’ll be much better at 1400 (metres) or 1600 (metres).”

Wednesday’s action starts at 7.15pm with the Class 4 Kwun Tong Handicap (1000m).