Stayers test for exotic punters
THE Final Stayers Handicap is the first leg of the last Double Trio to be held at Happy Valley under its present guise tomorrow night and it is not an easy race for punters seeking to cash in on the popular bet. A field of 12 will go to the post for the Classes Three and Four, 2,230-metre event with several having very obvious chances. Trainer David Hill saddles up Green Maple who ventures into unknown territory, but he ran well for a fourth placing last time out when an outside draw went badly against him. Green Maple has been drawn midfield and jockey John Marshall may elect to have him closer to the pace from this position.
The question mark is obviously over the distance, but if Green Maple does run it out, he is a major chance. The Bruce Hutchison-trained Spirits Bay undoubtedly does get the trip - and further - and the Australian mentor has engaged Pat Eddery for the ride and it does represent a chance for the former British champion jockey to add to his tally of winners. Spirits Bay goes well at the tight city track and is certainly more than fit enough to give an account of himself. The one going into it with arguably the best form is Trust Myself who started at ridiculous odds last time out with an apprentice up and ran a bold second to Tollway in a Class Four race at Sha Tin. Trust Myself also handles the Valley course and Gerald Mosse is back on board tomorrow night.
Well drawn and over a suitable trip, the Lawrie Fownes-trained galloper must rank as a top chance.
Champion Mascot gave Eddery his first winner at the Lunar New Year meeting when winning at Sha Tin, but could have more on his plate here although he, too, has done well at the city track. With Eddery preferring Spirits Bay, Darryll Holland will ride Champion Mascot. American star Gary Stevens partners Amazing Grace for trainer Wong Tang-ping and the horse should be fit enough after several runs.
He has ability, but may not be quite up to a couple of these. The second leg is a Class Three, 1,650-metre event where Easy Champ, the topweight in the 10-runner event, has an outstanding form chance. He chased home Master Eagle and Hussar over 1,400 metres at his last start in a combined Classes One and Two event and this is distinctly easier.
Easy Champ, with Eric Legrix up, should certainly appreciate the step up in distance to 1,650 metres and his last start effort must guarantee him real respect. Bottomweight Sweet Win is a course and distance specialist and comes into calculations after a good trial while Golden Prosperity and Able Monarch both have claims.