WITH UK champion jockey Silvestre de Sousa’s short term Hong Kong contract coming to an end, you can guarantee his rides will be popular with his supporters at Happy Valley this afternoon.
The locals can’t get enough of De Sousa who, with the exception of Zac Purton and Joao Moreira, is the only other jockey whose rides go off at shorter odds than they should.
Trainer Tony Millard, not known for handing out plaudits, summed it up perfectly at Sha Tin last Sunday after De Sousa had produced another power packed finish to win on the aptly named Super Star: “What a jockey, we are really going to miss him.”
The Brazilian-born ace is booked to ride in seven of the eight races, and with 42 winners already to his name, will surely be pushing to get near the magical half century with three meetings still remaining.
His highlight ride has to be TURIN REDSTAR who lines up in the main event of the afternoon, The Happy Valley Vase Handicap over 1m1f, worth around £250,000 in prize-money at 12.15pm.
De Sousa teams up with in-form trainer Frankie Lor, who carved his name into the Hong Kong record books by saddling Furore to victory in the HK Derby at Sha Tin on Sunday.
Lor has used De Sousa sparingly in the last three months, but the combi nation has still yielded a 30 per cent strike-rate, including Group One HKIR Cup winner Glorious Forever.
There is only a small but select field of eight runners lining up, but formbook students will tell you every horse at their best, has a chance of winning.
Five of the contenders, including Turin Redstar, bumped into one another over an extended mile trip at the Valley last month, when Circuit Glory repelled the late charges of rivals Citron Spirit (3rd) and Super Chic (4th) with Turin Redstar a close-up fifth.
It’s a fact that Turin Redstar suffered a torrid journey throughout that race, covering more ground than any of his rivals after being caught three-wide for most of the trip.
However, he was still staying on strongly in the closing stages, which speaks volumes for his performance.
This time he is drawn close to the rails and is mapped to get the run of the race, just behind the leaders, before pouncing down the home straight.
In the same race, keep an eye on bottom- weight Charity Go who was formerly known as Fortune’s Pearl when trained by Andrew Balding.
This four-year-old galloper, twice a winner in the UK, also finished runner-up in the listed Fielden Stakes at Newmarket, with subsequent St Leger winner Kew Gardens back in third.
De Sousa also has bright each-way prospects on the likes of Never Better in the 11.15am, improving Royal Chocolate in the 11.45am, and the well-handicapped Chiu Chow Kid in the 12.45pm.
But his best chance of another success comes on APPLAUSE, in the 1.15pm over six furlongs.
This Jimmy Ting-trained six-year-old hasn’t fired recently, but looks to have been earmarked for this contest after catching the eye in track-work and an impressive trial win at the beginning of the month.
Turin Redstar 12.15pm Happy Valley
Applause 1.15pm Happy Valley