Ho can set ball rolling
By ROBIN PARKE
LOCAL rider Johnny K. S. Ho can make his presence felt at today's nine-event Happy Valley meeting and get punters off on the right foot with Highway Patrol in the opening event.
The long-serving rider also has Plentiful Harvest in the third event and Make My Day is far from the worst in the fifth event on the card.
But veteran campaigner Highway Patrol is now in the depths of Class Six and is certain to pick up a race in this low grade. And that was certainly indicated last time when he finished very strongly to snatch second place behind free-running Three Cheers over course and distance.
It was a race Highway Patrol should probably have won. Three Cheers made all but Highway Patrol jumped well and was close up early although slightly wide.
Highway Patrol then dropped back towards the rear before the Rock and was subsequently checked at the 600-metre mark before running on very strongly to claim second place.
Given a less troubled run today, Highway Patrol will take all the beating in this modest event and could score quite comfortably. The rising 10-year-old has been in much better company than this in his heyday and remains capable of striking a blow.
The very moderate Dashing Win looks some sort of quinella chance with Tony Cruz up, while topweight Gold Peach two and three-quarter lengths behind Highway Patrol last time, could finish a lot closer this time.
Plentiful Harvest represents a solid each-way bet in the Class Four third event, where he again tackles the longer Valley sprint.
With Ho astride last time, he came from well back to rattle home for second behind Cheerful Prince, who is seeking a hat-trick of wins in another Valley event today.
It was an eye-catching run from Plentiful Harvest, who has only had four lifetime starts. In his debut last season over this trip, he set a hectic pace with Turf Champ before weakening out of it behind Pretty Long Legs.
He has not been ridden for similar pace in his three outings to date this season and was well out of it over the minimum trip at the city track on his debut when in the market.
Plentiful Harvest found nothing when it mattered at his next outing over 1,200 metres at Sha Tin, but there was plenty to like about his last effort.
The gelding has drawn in barrier five and Ho could easily have him out cleanly and over towards the rail. From a position close to the pace or even midfield at worst, he could easily run on to score, possibly from good last-start winner The Third Million.
It is worth noting, however, that The First Million won last time with Darren Gauci up and had been previously beaten with a string of lesser riders aboard. He is apprentice-ridden today, but looks to be a quinella chance along with the disappointing Golden Era.