My Home Town can upstage rivals with weight pull
Star apprentice Marco Chui Kwan-lai will be hoping things turn out better than the first time he rode for John Size, but the youngster has the horse power to win today's Police Cup (1,200m) at Happy Valley with My Home Town.
Chui's only ride for the reigning champion trainer was a late call-up when reserve Sight Winner got a start in the National Day Cup, but a wide draw and the hard-going five-year-old proved too much of a combination for Chui and he had to settle for eighth.
With Felix Coetzee switching to the now-scratched Lollipop for today's feature, Size has gone back to Chui for the lightly weighted My Home Town but, again, the young rider has a wide gate to contend with.
He may be forced to give away some sort of a start on My Home Town, but in his favour is that Happy Valley racing today comes back to the more forgiving 'A' course at least, giving swoopers their chance.
My Home Town and his main danger, the Danny Shum Chap-shing-trained High Point (Douglas Whyte), have something of a score to settle over their last meeting when both were defeated behind Tchaikovsky.
Whyte on High Point spent much of the race forcing My Home Town to race wide, while Coetzee on My Home Town then returned the favour in the home straight.
He kept High Point in a pocket for long enough to cost that horse the race, with Whyte's mount needing one more stride to win than he had available when he did finally get clear. High Point was wound right up for his seasonal debut, while My Home Town, like so many of Size's runners this season, looked in need of the race.
With the benefit of that, he should be ready to show his best in receipt of plenty of avoirdupois from the higher weighted runners who are probably not much better than him in term of ability.
High Point is a strong danger, especially with the draw in his favour, and so too are the David Ferraris-trained Bear Macho (Olivier Doleuze) and David Hall's interesting four-year-old Elite Champion (Brett Prebble).
Bear Macho had nothing go his way first-up on the dirt and punters would be wise to scrub the run from Bear Macho's record - he had trialled very strongly prior and has a much better gate this time.
Elite Champion was gelded last season after running just fairly in December at his first start, but looks to have come back in better order with some time under his belt.
He probably should have beaten King Prawn Supreme when he resumed on the dirt, being held up for much of the straight when full of running before finishing close-up.
There are enough similarities between Elite Champion's form in Britain and that of another successful Hall import, Hawkes Bay, to suggest that Elite Champion is going to turn over better than his current 89 rating, but whether that happens over 1,200m or not longer term remains to be seen.
Marco Chui (below) combines with John Size for the second time in a trophy race today. He has ridden this many winners this season: 3