All Power to Hutchison
LAWRENCE WADEY, Racing Editor
Power Rangers can take Bruce Hutchison into double figures for the season by winning tonight's fourth event at Happy Valley.
The white-haired mentor's team has generally been running well over the past three months or so and his tally of nine winners to date doesn't do him justice as there have also been 20 seconds.
To that extent it has been a frustrating time though the quinella spot can be pretty handy at times for connections who so often opt for this betting pool over and above the win markets.
But tonight Power Rangers is worth a solid win bet under the accomplished Australian jockey Patrick Payne who appears to have found the key to the tricky city circuit. He rides the Valley beautifully and in Power Rangers has the right horse in the right race.
This evening Power Rangers is racing from a handicap rating of 35 in a run-of-the-mill Class Five mile handicap where most of his rivals have been going around all season.
Last term Power Rangers put in his best effort when taking exactly this type of race, a Class Five mile handicap at the Valley.
On that occasion he ran from a rating of 32 and beat Jonka by a comfortable 1.25 lengths with Prominence third, Win Tack fourth and Hung Hing Tai in fifth. The official comment is that Power Rangers won 'readily'.
Flicking back through the pages of last season's form book, it appears to be a remarkably similar race to tonight's - not just in that they are both Class Five mile affairs at the Valley but also in the overall strength of the contests.
The handicapper's reaction to that easy win was to raise Power Rangers by 10 ratings points and as the win came at the backend of the season, that is a harder burden to overcome.
It means that Power Rangers didn't drop during the close season reshuffle downwards and he had to start this campaign from exactly the same mark of 42.
There's a double whammy involved here because as Power Rangers was going up 10 pounds, most of the others were coming down around seven pounds.
Basically Power Rangers has, until recently, struggled against some better-weighted rivals in this handicap-driven system. But then last time he put in a much-improved effort when staying on strongly to be fifth to Treasure over a mile at Sha Tin.
Power Rangers has appeared to work fluently and tonight's event looks tailor-made for him and has been well picked out by Hutchison.
The main quinella chances could be Andy Leung's improving Toy Baron, the Chris Cheung-trained Treasure Spring who has never worked better and Strike A Fortune who put in a much-improved run for Alex Wong Siu-tan and Alan Munro at the weekend, when blinkered for the first time, and backs up signficantly quickly.