FORMER HK champion apprentice Matthew Chadwick could be the jockey to follow when racing resumes at Happy Valley later this morning.
Like most of the local jockeys riding in Hong Kong, Chadwick has found it hard to compete against the likes of Joao Moreira and Zac Purton, who continued to dominate the racing scene.
An astonishing statistic shows the two champion jockeys have so far ridden over 50% of the market leaders in races this season.
Chadwick, a former winner of the Shergar Cup Silver Saddle at Ascot back in 2012, can safely be described as a value-for-money rider. Despite partnering many no-hopers, he is clearly capable of producing the goods when riding horses with good form in the book that might have slipped under the radar.
With seven rides at the inner-city track, Chadwick, at least on paper, has strong possibilities of riding a couple of winners if the gods of fortune are smiling on him. Purton’s supporters will be licking their lips with anticipation when the reigning champ renews his partnership with top-weight Mr Picasso in the six-furlong Harbour Handicap (11.45am).
The seven-year-old drops down in class despite bouncing back to form when a close-up fifth in a hot handicap earlier last month.
He now races off a mark similar to his last winning one and has Purton aboard again. With a low draw in his favour, this looks a recipe for success.
No doubt bettors will be keen to get on and you can guarantee he is going to start at prohibitive odds.
However, lurking near the bottom of the handicap is the Chadwick-ridden MEHBOOB who will be getting 14lbs from the favourite.
The Paul O’Sullivan-trained four-year- old produced an encouraging display on his seasonal appearance when, despite suffering an interrupted passage, he finished strongly to chase home G Unit over five furlongs three weeks ago.
With the extra furlong here in his favour and racing along the ‘golden highway’ from stall one, he is capable of making the most of the weight he receives from Mr Picasso.
Chadwick is also aboard Gentle Breeze in the Lockhart Handicap (2.15pm), whom he partnered to victory over the course and distance in September.
A 5lb penalty tempers enthusiasm, especially in a race where at least a handful of horses can be given a chance on their best form.
Chadwick could have better fortune when he partners MY DARLING in the closing six-furlong O’Brien Handicap (2.50pm).
This course and distance winner hasn’t raced at the Valley since March 2018, but has produced several good efforts at Sha Tin to suggest he could be well-handicapped.
Having finished three lengths fifth behind one of Hong Kong’s top sprinters Golden Sixty on the first day of the season, Benno Yung’s gelding subsequently just failed to see out seven furlongs when collared in the closing stages and finishing fourth in a blanket finish.
That form has subsequently been well and truly franked, with three winners coming out of the race and three more being placed in competitive handicaps.
With an inside draw to his advantage, he is capable of racing close to the pace from the off and then kicking for glory turning into the straight.
Mehboob 11.45am Happy Valley
My Darling e/w 2.50pm Happy Valley