Reigning champion trainer Ricky Yiu is optimistic a timely distance rise can trigger Excellent Chariot’s return to the winners’ list in the Class 3 Devon Handicap (1400m) at Sha Tin on Saturday (April 17).
A week out from launching a three-pronged G1 assault on FWD Champions Day (Sunday, 25 April) with Mighty Giant, Jolly Banner and Voyage Warrior, the 2019/20 title-holder hopes Excellent Chariot can build on the stable’s solid start to April.
With three winners and four minor place-getters and several (four) fourths, Yiu has made a consistent start to the month and, as he prepares to saddle six runners at Sha Tin this weekend, the trainer believes Excellent Chariot can successfully contend.
“He’s up in distance, it’s a bigger task for him but he’s a horse who always tries hard,” Yiu said of the Jimmy Choux gelding who opened the season with successive 1200m wins at Sha Tin.
“He’s more mature now, it’s probably time to step him up in distance but he’s still one of the up-and-coming youngsters.
“We’ll have to ride him for luck (from barrier 10 under Keith Yeung), hopefully somewhere mid-field with cover.”
Yiu will also be represented by Toycoon in the Class 4 Somerset Handicap (1800m), hopeful the Turffontein gelding can run to his pedigree as he chases his first Hong Kong victory.
Twice a winner in South Australia as Rapid Bay when trained by Jake Stephens, Toycoon reached a peak rating of 74 last season but has now dropped to 58.