Happy Tumbler to score on rugby night at Valley
The David Hall-trained Happy Tumbler has finally come up with the right draw and that should see him break his local maiden status in the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union Cup (1,650m) at Happy Valley tonight.
The four-year-old showed some promise in his first few starts, the best of them being his fast-finishing second to Happy Seven over this course and distance last month.
On that occasion, he drew wide and was forced back to last place to get in and then unleashed a strong burst to run the in-form winner to a narrow margin.
But his poor luck at the draw that night has since been repeated in races at Sha Tin and on the all-weather surface.
Two starts ago, connections took a gamble by sending him forward to race outside the lead, but Happy Tumbler didn't respond to those tactics, overracing before he dropped out of contention quickly.
Backing up a week later in the all-weather 1,650m won by Prince Kalamoun two weekends ago, he again drew the outside gate and settled down at the rear before making up ground in the straight.
But from gate one, Brett Prebble may be able to take a closer position without having to fire up the gelding and that should signal his first victory.
A winner of three races in Australia on soft ground, it's no surprise Happy Tumbler is finding himself well suited on the forgiving Valley surface and he only has to reproduce his form of three starts ago to be the horse to beat. And that draw allowing Happy Tumbler to take a closer position looks a key factor, with little in the way of lead pace in the field.
Juggernaut, Grand Profit and Good Luck Win (Alex Lai Hoi-wing) appear the most likely go-forward horses early, but connections of Juggernaut and Grand Profit have shown an inclination to look for cover recently.
The Tony Cruz-trained Super Genki (Matthew Chadwick) has been on the verge of a win and looks a danger, but he is a difficult ride and needs everything to fall into place in his races.
He finished strongly at Sha Tin in a well-run 1,400m behind Enriched and a repeat would see him right in the fight, but the likelihood of a slower tempo is not in his favour.
David Hall is having one of his best seasons and is sixth on the trainers' table with 23 winners for a strike rate of: 11%