Fownes to continue his Valley dominance
The odds favour Caspar Fownes again can extend his trainers' championship advantage tonight at Happy Valley as he returns to the track where he has been dominating the season with 27 victories.
Fownes has failed to train a winner at only four Valley meetings this season, a record which has proved his ace in the hole as Paul O'Sullivan has saddled up just five winners at the track.
And while O'Sullivan has had stronger teams out, Fownes will still have contenders among his five - Spicy Hot (race one), Kaiser's Choix (race three), Fast Track (race four), Liaobuqi (race five) and Green Birdie (race eight).
The best of them looks to be Kaiser's Choix (Felix Coetzee), who probably had his chances last start when just behind the placings in a similar event. But the honest gelding has come up with the prized rails barrier this time.
O'Sullivan pulled back Fownes' lead to five again at Sha Tin on Saturday but the New Zealander has just two runners tonight against the Fownes five, Both the O'Sullivan runners, Feburo (race two) and Sydney Express (race five) have each drawn gate six, probably as wide as anyone would usually want to be with the rail in the B position, but each look to be winning chances.
Sydney Express showed a return to something like his best form at his initial outing for his new mentor, O'Sullivan, last start when he was close up behind Evergreen and the trainer has added blinkers to try to bring something extra from him.
Meanhile, Danny Nikolic lost an appeal yesterday in Australia against a careless riding suspension he earned at Sydney's autumn carnival recently.
As a result, he is unable to take up his engagements for Happy Valley tonight and has been sidelined until April 29.
Nikolic had five mounts for this evening and his substitute riders will be Shane Dye on Diamond Flyer (race one) and Gold Field (race six), Anthony Delpech on Feburo, Felic Coetzee for Master Power (race seven) and Eddy Lai Wai-ming (Liberal's Knight, race eight).