TRAINER Caspar Fownes could be the man to follow at Happy Valley today.
Charismatic Fownes is known as the ‘King of the Valley’. The three-time champion trainer has saddled around 470 winners at the inner-city track since he gained his licence back in 2003/04 and is the go-to trainer when bettors are looking for some inspiration.
Fownes, who has remarkably saddled 18 of his 25 winners this season at the Valley, is represented in seven of the eight contests and will hope to extend his winning tally with another winner or two.
It’s certainly been a time of celebrations for the stable over the past fortnight with Fownes leaving the Valley with a couple of winning doubles.
Galaxy Racer has been a work in progress since joining the Fownes stable back in December and judged by his strong finish, when runner-up over seven furlongs at Sha Tin last month, will surely appreciate the step up in distance to the extended mile in the Wan Chai Gap Handicap (11.15am).
Class 5 contests are not the most attractive of betting heats, but the fact Zac Purton climbs aboard the gelding for the first time suggests connections must mean business in a low-key event.
Keep an eye on E Master who lines up in the Tai Yuen Handicap 12.45pm) over six furlongs.
This former Australian galloper was heavily supported when suffering a health issue during the race back in January.
Having already won over course and distance, as well as being a three-time winner in similar company, his inside draw is a bonus and it will be interesting to see if his supporters go on a retrieval mission.
Another Fownes hope is Perfect To Play in the Thomson Handicap (1.45pm) over the extended mile.
This dual track and trip winner may have uninspiring form figures, but he never saw daylight down the home straight when a close-up sixth three weeks back, and he is now 5lbs below his last winning mark.
Fownes’ best chance of success could be the once unpredictable and frustrating NABOO STAR, who seeks to successfully follow up his last month’s win in the closing Queensway Handicap (2.50pm) over 1m1f.
Having already won over a mile back in December, Naboo Star took the step up to Class 3 company in his stride when surging clear of some useful handicappers.
The step up in distance is a massive bonus to his chances, regular pilot Vincent Ho is again in the saddle and a recent highly encouraging trial means his chance is obvious.
The form-book says this won’t be easy though, with the likes of useful course and distance winner World Famous in opposition. However, regular rider Ho, has deserted him in favour of Naboo Star.
Francis Lui’s Holy Heart is another to consider having been a former polytrack surface winner for trainer John Gosden back in the UK when racing under the same name.
This Holy Roman Emperor gelding has only ever raced once on turf, but the fact Purton has been booked suggests connections believe he is well-handicapped.
Naboo Star 2.50pm Happy Valley