Murphy opts for class
TOP jockey Declan Murphy, who would dearly love to be riding Our Pal in tomorrow's Hong Kong Derby, may have to settle for the featured STDM Cup at today's Taipa meeting.
Murphy, who has had a tremendous first season on the course, is heading for the jockeys' premiership in Macau despite the fact that he is selective about his rides which are mostly concentrated towards the top end of the handicap.
Trainer-brother Joe headed that championship for several weeks but has come under increasing pressure from new leader Wing Leung, who has had a topsy-turvy season.
But today the Murphy brothers can land the $300,000 STDM Cup with Class One galloper The Wheel, rated 102 and a quality performer.
It will take a sterling effort from the gelding as he will carry 144 pounds over 1,800 metres but it is the consummate skill of his rider that will make plenty of difference.
The Wheel has drawn out in barrier 11 so virtually everything will depend on Declan Murphy who cannot afford to cover much extra ground and equally cannot afford to use the horse up under this onerous weight.
Let Us Famous and Super, both rated 100, are guaranteed to make this a race and a half but both will carry 142 pounds so they, too, face stiffish tasks. If there is to be a surprise package under a light weight it could be John Gilmore's Derby winner Royal Knight, to be ridden by Jonathan Powell.
It's an important day's racing for the Macau Jockey Club (MJC) with the Macau Derby Trial the fourth event on the 10-race programme.
This is a set-weights race with the winner guaranteed a run in the Macau Derby late next month and Happy Wonderland is the obvious choice.