Early shoppers pin their hopes on Yip
Caspar Fownes might be the King of Happy Valley these days but the man he usurped for that title could also account for a large chunk of punters' fortunes at the city venue tonight.
Dennis Yip Chor-hong was the leading trainer at Happy Valley in the 2005-06 season and although he's trailing Fownes on the city stats this term, on a 14-7 scoreline, Yip's Valley runners are always given the appropriate respect by punters.
Yip looks like playing a key role in a number of events tonight, if the early shoppers have it right - as they so often do.
His lightly raced Take It Easy was a clear favourite for the Great George Handicap (race three) on last night's 7pm tote call.
Take It Easy, to be ridden by Howard Cheng Yue-tin, has drawn ideally in barrier three and hopefully some schooling from the gates will have a positive impact on his gate manners.
Take It Easy missed the start by two lengths on debut and three lengths last start, so the players are certainly placing their faith in the trainer's horsemanship to turn the gelding's fortunes around.
Yip is also the man to follow in the fourth event where Douglas Whyte takes over on the stable's representative Frontier ($40).
Frontier is still a maiden but has twice been runner-up over the extended metric mile at the city circuit, with apprentice Terry Wong Chi-wai in the saddle on each occasion. With the Durban Demon taking over, and the race appearing to lack other serious contenders for the front-running position, it may fall to Whyte to attempt to make all on the four-year-old.
Yip will also be putting forward the overnight favourite for the feature event, the January Cup (race seven).
While chief racing writer Alan Aitken has opted for the Fownes-trained Noble Conqueror as his front page special, it is Yip's Silver Sun (Christophe Soumillon) that was the market leader last night at $63 in a wide-open race.
Yip, who has trained 16 winners this term, has a total of six runners for the evening, starting with veteran Daneprint (Cheng) in the Class Five opener over 2,200m.