Punters putting their faith in Leung's Kenny
A long losing sequence for local handler Andy Leung Ting-wah has made little difference to punters, who have put their faith in the trainer to break the ice tonight with consistent Flying Kenny, to be ridden by stable jockey Andrasch Starke.
Leung has now saddled up 61 successive losers and the partnership with Starke has been a non event, with the high-quality jockey's winning rides since arriving in Hong Kong having been provided by outside stables.
Now 61 straight losers might not be the worst scorecard in town - there is one who is 12 runs deeper into a monster losing streak - but it's scarcely the sort of statistic any trainer wants hanging around as they bid to throw off the blues and get back into a winning groove.
Flying Kenny might not be the most reliable vehicle in which Leung - or horse players for that matter - to place their trust.
True, he has been very consistent and last start performed well under England's Kieren Fallon in a round of the International Jockeys' Championship, finishing second to Cherished.
But the reality is that Flying Kenny has won just one race, as a griffin on a soft track, and his position as favourite tonight seems tenuous at best.
The Kiwi connection - Paul O'Sullivan and Shane Dye - looks well placed to rack up another win with Join Victory, a half-brother to New Zealand Derby winner Great Command.
Join Victory looked above himself - sweating up and on his toes - when he resumed at Sha Tin on December 1. The only logical conclusion was that the gelding would be improved significantly by the run. Yet he ran a cracking race for second to Wiki Wiki in a class four race over 1,200 metres on the all-weather track.
That race should have brought Join Victory on in terms of physical condition. And remembering that he won over 1,600 metres at Sha Tin last season, the 1,650 metres tonight at the city venue should hold no fears for him.
Shortest priced favourite of the night, on early markets, is Douglas Whyte's mount Handbag Fortune in the second event. Although he is yet to win in 14 starts, Handbag Fortune is $19 (for $10) favourite on the early Jockey Club tote board.