Yiu enjoys the high life
FIRST-season trainer Ricky P. F. Yiu has notched up two early career winners and seen five horses join his stable - so he has no reason to complain about the way things have been going.
And it could be smiles all around again tonight when Cosmolife comes back after the third event on the all-weather card at Sha Tin.
With any luck, Cosmolife should be led into the winner's stall.
Yiu took over the training of five horses in the past two weeks although not many of them are likely to end up anything special. But it does show that the former assistant trainer to Geoff Lane has been making the correct impression.
His low-key approach with the emphasis on work has already paid dividends and should continue to do so.
Yiu has already won with Cosmolife down the straight 1,000 metres and the gelding, whose career has been intermittently troubled by leg ailments, returns to the equitrack surface on which he has been successful in the past. That was over 1,400 metres at Happy Valley where the speedy, front-running type made all and South African ace Piere Styrdom will be hoping he can do exactly the same in the Class Four, 1,150-metre event.
Cosmolife landed a good touch when scoring down the straight 1,000 metres last time, coming through to take it up close home and then hold off the typically fast-finishing Humdinger by the shortest of short heads.
It was a highly satisfying win for Yiu who had seen the horse run particularly well over 1,200 metres at the first night meeting of the season.
And Cosmolife has certainly not regressed since that last short sprint win.
There are 12 involved in this event but precious few have caught the eye in the morning suggesting that Cosmolife, who has continued to do well, is going to take a lot of beating.
On top of the hardness of condition brought on by his two runs to date, the seven-year-old Luskin Star gelding seems to have put his troubled days behind him and is going about his work with a will.
But he has drawn out wide in barrier 11 and on the dreaded all-weather surface that is not a help.
Punters remain in a basic quandary over the Sha Tin synthetic surface. They were running very quick times on Saturday night but horses were also coming from behind quite regularly to win.
Without any doubt, it does pay to be bang in front over the short sprint where horses have virtually no chance of coming from behind to win - although they can fill minor placings as Super Power did behind Sharp Shooter on Saturday.
The extra 100 metres of the longer equitrack sprint can pose problems for out-and-out front-runners.
They are beginning to run out of puff in that last vital sector with the result being that they can be caught.
Strydom has gained many admirers during his short Hong Kong stint and if he can get Cosmolife across and into a very good position from the gates, they could take a lot of beating.
Cosmolife, with a strong equitrack win over 1,400 metres to his credit, should be able to run home solidly and he could be the answer.
The other real chance must be Dashing Dragon who reverts to the dirt after a couple of confusing runs on the sandmesh.
Two starts back he was nowhere to be found in a longer sprint after going really well in his seasonal debut over tonight's 1,150-metre trip.
With punters scratching their heads, Dashing Dragon then came out and tackled a 1,400-metre event where he was not disgraced in finishing just under four lengths from the winner over a trip that is not his best.
Now he is back down the distance scale to 1,150 metres and on his first-up run when a length and three parts second to Tim's Joy - a winner again on Saturday night - he must be respected.
Felix Coetzee will partner Dashing Dragon and he jumps from barrier six which should give the South African a chance to have the eight-year-old in the firing line.
Trainer Brian Kan Ping-chee, who has had Dashing Dragon throughout its career, is top of the standings and his horses are running in great form. And Dashing Dragon has been one of very few horses in this to catch the eye in the mornings, suggesting that a forward run is expected.