TRAINER Francis Lui looks to have found an ideal opportunity for highly-progressive four-year-old SUNNY STAR to defy top-weight, in the feature race of the day, the Community Chest Cup Handicap (2.50pm) over the extended mile.
The eye-catching booking of excellent 5lb claimer Jerry Chau tilts the weights in favour of this dual course and distance winner, who improved 20lbs in the handicap ratings last season.
There is no doubt Chau’s 5lb claiming allowance is worth its weight in gold in Hong Kong. The 21-year-old rode a staggering 58 winners in only his second season in the territory, and is rated as good as any jockey riding, outside of Purton and Moreira.
Normally young apprentices get flustered in the latter stages of races when presented with winning chances, but Chau is as strong as anyone.
This was highlighted once again when he forced First Responder to victory in a bunched finish at Sha Tin last Sunday.
Taking Chau’s allowance into account, the weights favour Sunny Star over the likes of Wealthy Delight, Gallant Crown, Right Honourable, Heavenly Thought, and Nothing New, while obvious threat Indicative Vote may prove better over a longer trip.
Keep an eye on another claiming rider Alfie Chan, who gets his chance to shine when partnering the Caspar Fownes-trained Royal Bomb.
This former Australian import lost his way in the latter stages of last season, but has looked a rejuvenated character in the close-season, and his trials as a prep for this contest have been impressive.
Sunny Star 2.50pm Happy Valley