Harb can justify ridiculously short price

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 January, 2008, 12:00am

The overnight price was ridiculous but only a fool would discard the significance of the money flow, indicating that Harb carries the full confidence of trainer Ricky Yiu Poon-fie in the second event at Happy Valley this evening.

Harb won over this course and distance on his local debut in April last year. The Australian private purchase then bounced straight into Class Three and assignments at that level proved beyond him, giving Yiu no option to wait until the gelding's rating came down for him to return to Class Three.

That happened two starts ago, and Harb has now raced twice in the lower grade for two good runs - a fifth and a fourth, and on each occasion he has had excuses.

At Happy Valley on December 5, he drew barrier 12, giving jockey Alex Lai Hoi-wing no alternative but to restrain him when the gates opened and go back, searching for cover near the rails. He was held up and blocked for the last 250m, basically going to the line untested.

Last start at Sha Tin behind dead-heaters, One World and Double Luck, Harb was trapped three wide throughout (albeit with cover) and was blocked on two occasions. Tonight, on the tricky 'C' rail placement, barriers are everything and Harb has come up with the coveted inside alley. From there, Lai should be able to give him the run of the race and he'll undoubtedly present himself as a winning chance at some stage in the straight.

Now all that makes a nice story, but it doesn't sum up a $15 chance, which was the price the Jockey Club tote was showing about Harb last night at 7 o'clock.

While there will undoubtedly be some significant market correction today, the most important thing to take from the market was the tip of confidence.

Harb did a nice piece of work on Sunday, with stablemate Elfhelm, written up by colleague Alan Aitken on the front page as the likely winner of the final event.

Elfhelm, on the outside, was narrowly outpointed by Harb but it was a nice piece of work by both horses.

With 17 winners from 150 runners, Yiu is once again a leader in terms of strike rate, with the stable getting it right with 15 per cent of their runners. The only trainer ahead of him, measured this way, is premiership leader John Size (17 per cent).