Will to win keeps Hung in the hunt
K. H. ''Little'' Hung has been enjoying an Indian Summer to his career and his tremendous run of success, in the face of considerable adversity, could well continue at Happy Valley tomorrow night.
Hung is a surprise but significant booking for Alex Wong Siu-tan's formerly useful handicapper, Mr Bunny, who is now in the veteran stage of his career - rather similar to his rider.
But unlike Hung, he has been out of form of late and is now dropped down into Class Four.
Hung is reported to have a letter from the Jockey Club warning him that his licence may be in danger for next season due to lack of rides - rather than lack of winners as he's partnered seven to victory this campaign.
Against this background such gutsy displays on the likes of Thunder Bolt at the weekend to score by the minimum margin with Darren Gauci and Basil Marcus breathing down his neck, illustrate that Hung can fire at the riding caper when he puts his mind to it.
He's certainly not too bad in a finish as Thunder Bolt's success illustrated.
Mr Bunny caught the eye last time out when looming up with 300 metres to go in a much better contest than tomorrow's at Sha Tin.
He has been noted doing plenty of work in the mornings since then and yesterday put in a pleasing effort over 1,200 metres.
He clocked a solid one minute 18.4 seconds with a fluent last quarter in 23.9 seconds and could well be worth taking a chance on in tomorrow night's opening event.
Hung has also been booked for Bruce Hutchison's Hankow Star in the fourth event, and why not? After all, he produced an amazing ride to get Hutchison's Free Zone home at remunerative odds down the straight 1,000-metre course a few meetings back, having dropped his whip after giving his mount a couple of cracks in the early stages.
Hankow Star ran on really well over an inadequate 1,200 metres last time out when ridden by Lester Piggott and will benefit from the move to the Valley mile.
He has been noted doing plenty of conditioning work since then and Hutchison's horses have generally been running well without being overly blessed by good fortune.
Hankow Star must be some kind of quinella chance in this race at worst but he will be challenged strongly by Diamond Coast and Ocean Pride, both of whom appear to have trained on well since their last-start successes.
Diamond Coast looked very well in himself yesterday morning when completing an easy 1,200 metres under the very much in-form Eric Saint-Martin and Ocean Pride has blossomed since moving to Kan.
Ocean Pride's recent short-head defeat of William's Tact probably amounts to better form than that of anything else in this event.
Royal Pride has been his normal fluent self in readiness for the fourth but he is an habitually good worker and is now weighted right up to his best form.
Cruise Missile trialled really well recently and has struck a weak field going into the second race. Trainer Geoff Lane has his horses in great shape.
Yesterday morning, Tony P. H. Chan's Rabbit Bo Bo, looked absolutely spot on in preparation for the third, a staying event for Classes Five and Six.
He cantered a double round with stablemate Daiquiri and is ready to run his best race.
But so, too, is Jet Speed, who worked exceedingly well from the barriers at the top of the back straight.
For the same race David Oughton's Berkut has an outstanding form claim.
Ivan Allan's Hercules looked as well as could be as he strode out comfortably down the back straight in preparation for a weak looking sixth event. He should be suited by the mile.
Meanwhile, Begg's private purchase griffin Brave Warrior passed his first barrier trial yesterday under the new initiative which says trainers can utilise the barriers at the top of the back straight for this purpose.
The only problem was that there was no public announcement that Brave Warrior was going to trial.
And the one who was publicly announced as trialling, Race To Win, didn't officially go through the barriers, though he went through three times unofficially.
Hopefully, these are just teething problems.