WAIKUKU FIRMLY ON THE DERBY TRAIL AFTER SHA TIN ROMP
Ireland's loss was clearly Hong Kong's gain after Waikuku put himself centre stage for the BMW Hong Derby at Sha Tin last Saturday.
Reports suggest John Oxx held the son of Harbour Watch in high regard after his Leopardstown maiden win last summer, but HK champion trainer John Size trains the four-year-old now and has reason to be confident of a fourth Derby win judged on the way Waikuku gave lumps of weight and a handsome beating to some smart Class 2 handicappers including stablemate Enrichment.
Easy, Waikuku! John Size's Irish import just made the BMW Hong Kong Derby on 17 March that much the tastier. #HKracing pic.twitter.com/ObCiqofIDZ
— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) March 2, 2019
All the last ten Derby winners have been rated 102 or higher going into the big race and Waikuku is now HK's highest rated Classic contender on a mark of 108.
INSIDE DRAW GIVES DOLLAR HIS CHANCE OF REWARD
Neil Callan's hopes of a decent Derby ride took a nosedive with the news that Ryan Moore is flying in to partner Enrichment but the upbeat Irishman has plenty in his favour when he partners Dollar Reward in the Johnston Handicap (11.45) at Happy Valley on Wednesday.
This looks a weak affair by normal HK standards, with more than half the field looking hard to fancy and the unexposed Size runner Brave Command needing to step up appreciably on an ordinary debut to have a major chance.
Speedy Lunar Zephyr was caught on the line in a better race than this at Sha Tin on his latest start and has to be high on the short list despite stall 11, but Dollar Reward has drawn perfectly in stall 1 for Callan.
Wah May Princess ♂️ benefits from a savvy @KarisTeetan ride: tracking in 2nd, owning the rail run & kicking through to take R3. #HKracing #HappyWednesday pic.twitter.com/U2Hls8KWIq
— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) February 13, 2019
This gelding showed useful form in Britain for Sir Michael Stoute and Stuart Williams. He's suffered several near misses while building a lengthy losing run in HK, but there doesn't seem too much wrong with his attitude and this could finally be the day when things fall into place for him.
WONG CLAIM A BONUS FOR WELL-DRAWN WALDORF
Size's former assistant Frankie Lor has booked Karis Teetan for his impressive AW winner Coby Oppa, but don't be surprised if one of the Mauritian's former partners also has a say in this open sprint.
Teetan has been aboard Waldorf for all his last six runs, including a win over this course and distance and several fine efforts in defeat.
But the fact that Hong Kong's sole 7lb claimer Victor Wong takes over for the first time here is notable.
Without too much fanfare - bar the night he rattled off a four timer at the Valley - Wong has worked his way up to sixth in the jockeys' table with 28 winners.
The market still doesn't always factor in how valuable his claim is and, with stall 2 an added bonus, Waldorf appeals as the sort to go well at a fair price here.