YOUNG jockey Vincent Ho, probably still on cloud nine following his brave and daring ride on Sunday’s Hong Kong Derby hero, Golden Sixty, will need to get back to reality when he heads to Happy Valley today.
Ho is riding the crest of a wave at present having notched seven winners in the last four meetings at the inner-city track.
His overall record at the tight-turning circuit this season reads an impressive 30 per cent win and place strike-rate.
The 29-year-old pilot has seven rides, notably three for Caspar Fownes, and will surely fancy his chances of prolonging his fruitful current run.
Fownes and Ho are represented by Galaxy Racer in the opening Waterfall Bay Handicap (11.15am).
This New Zealand bred four-year-old was a fast-finishing third when trying this mile trip for the first time a fortnight ago.
That form gives him good prospects in this low-grade contest and he must go close if reproducing that form.
The combination team up again soon after with Nunchuks who will be looking for a change of fortune in the Tin Wan Handicap (11.45am).
Ho looked like he rode the gelding to get the trip on his first try over a mile when finishing fifth earlier this month.
Any improvement on that performance gives him an each-way chance in what looks like an open contest on paper.
The Derby-winning jockey’s best chance of success could be on NABOO STAR, who lines-up in the Po Chong Wan Handicap (2.15pm) over the extended mile.
The Australian bred five-year-old is a winner without a penalty, following a desperate journey, with Ho aboard, when only fifth to Blastoise over nine furlongs at the Valley recently.
The two-time track and trip winner never saw daylight when delivering his challenge down the home straight and then running into trouble again in the closing stages, but was still only beaten by just over a length.
A double-figure draw is not ideal, meaning Naboo Star will be further back than intended in the early stages of the contest.
But provided Ho and Naboo Star can start rolling down the far side of the track they should be within striking distance before the straight and then the five-year-old’s renowned turbo-charged finish can kick in.
This won’t be easy, though, notably with the Joao Moreira-ridden Cinquante Cinq in opposition.
The progressive gelding has been a model of consistency all season, but still looks fairly treated and looks the obvious threat.
Trainer Caspar Fownes will be looking for further success at the meeting when he saddles Dancing Fighter over six furlongs in the Kong Sin Wan Handicap (1.45pm) and Green Reign in the closing Kong Sin Wan Handicap (2.50pm).
Fownes, having saddled 20 winners at the Valley already this season, has secured the services of jockeys’ championship leader Moreira for both of his contenders and will be bullish about their chances.
Both, however, are going to be short-odds, especially with the ‘Magic Man’ aboard and although they could win there looks to be little value in supporting them, especially in highly-competitive sprints where luck will play an important role.
Naboo Star 2.15pm Happy Valley