FORTUNE looks to have favoured the Frankie Lor-trained MY ECSTATIC, who has drawn an invaluable low stall number in Division Two of the Kingston Handicap (11.45am) over six furlongs at Happy Valley in Hong Kong on Wednesday.
Double-figure draws have scuppered his chances in his last couple of races, although there was nothing wrong with his effort when finishing a close-up fourth to the smart Scores Of Fun in November.
Both the winner and third-placed Family Folks have won since, and My Ecstatic now finds himself dropped in class for this easier assignment.
Lor’s stable are flying at present, with seven wins over the Christmas and New Year period which have put clear daylight between himself and persistent challenger John Size at the head of the trainers’ championship.
The booking of in-form pilot Matthew Chadwick is another bonus, as the former HK champion apprentice is in the form of his life with 18 winners already to his credit this season.
The obvious threat looks to be the John Size and Joao Moreira partnership, who are represented by Toronado Phantom.
This striking grey galloper has cost his followers a fortune twice already this season, once over a mile at Happy Valley in November and then again behind Navas Two over seven furlongs the following month.
Size drops him down in distance again – he did win over six furlongs as a three-year-old – but an awkward draw suggests he may need plenty of luck.
As always, the draw will again play an important role in determining the results on the programme.
Racing takes place on the ‘A’ track, and, with only a short home straight of around one-and a-half-furlongs, it’s imperative to be in a good position before the final bend.
One horse who has everything in his favour is the Jimmy Ting-trained A LA KING, who has the plum inside draw in stall one when lining-up in the opening race on the nine-race programme, Division One of the Paterson Handicap (10.45am) over the extended mile.
This four-year-old son of Denman steps up in distance after an eye-catching effort behind Navas Two in a highly competitive handicap over seven furlongs at Sha Tin last month, where he made rapid late headway after getting too far back from an awkward draw.
That form has been well advertised with both the winner and runner-up, Packing Victory, winning on New Year’s Day.
Despite that encouraging performance, the handicapper has given him a chance by dropping him a further couple of points, which sees him drop down in class and able to race off his last winning mark.
He has a lot going for him, with in-form Harry Bentley in the saddle and the extended mile trip sure to suit, so he should be hard to stop in the closing stages.
A La King 10.45am Happy Valley
My Ecstatic (e/w) 11.45am Happy Valley