Hop into Hung for early break
By Racing Editor LAWRENCE WADEY
MR Bunny can help save K. H. Hung's bacon by taking the opening event at Happy Valley's turf fixture tonight.
Hung, a former champion apprentice but now one of the senior riders, is understood to have been warned that his licence for next season is in jeopardy.
He needs to bolster his number of rides as well as net as many winners as possible. He is currently on the seven-winner mark.
To this extent he looks a significant booking for Mr Bunny and has been riding better than in recent seasons as Saturday's tenacious victory on Thunder Bolt underlined.
Mr Bunny, a veteran handicapper, started this season racing from a mark of 62 in Class Three.
He has since dropped fully 14 pounds in the ratings and trainer Alex Wong Siu-tan has decided to make use of the voluntary demotion scheme to let him take his chance against Class Four opposition.
Even by Class Four standards this is not a competitive event and Mr Bunny, if anywhere near back to form, would make very short work of his seven opponents.
And last time out there was a glimmer of hope that he could be returning to something like his form of old.
He loomed up from the rear of his field in the Class Three mile event won by Diamond Coast at Sha Tin and actually ran better than his 10th position indicates.
There was enough promise in that run to suggest that Mr Bunny still retained the ability to win before the end of the season and this is his best opportunity of the campaign.
His trackwork since has given further cause for encouragement as he has been noted doing plenty in the mornings.
The biggest danger could well come from John Moore's Action Time now that Basil Marcus replaces apprentice Victor C. F. Chan.
Action Time was all the rage for a Class Five event last time out but found himself outpaced over 975 metres. He didn't get the best of runs, either.
But with Marcus on board, the move up in distance and the drop in weight, Action Time must be a big quinella chance.
There was plenty to like about his penultimate start when he forced Neville Begg's promising Blaze Of Glory all the way to the line over 1,200 metres at Sha Tin, the pair drawing well clear of their rivals which is invariably a sign of reliable form.
Top Glory showed plenty of ability on his first griffin start last season before developing a tendency to miss the start.
He's clearly had his training problems as well as he's run just once this campaign and has been off the track for four months.
A recent trial left the impression that he was still a little from peak condition but the trial appears to have brought him on considerably as he showed much more dash in work from the barriers with the good and recent Class Five runner-up, Radiant Sun, on Monday morning.
Speedy Winner ran well enough when third to Nickels King and Flowers World on the equitrack last Wednesday night and must also be considered.
River Serein has been working nicely but is almost certain to find 1,235 metres too sharp for her, even when racing fresh.
But Nikim has had a heap of problems and has been very sparingly raced in recent seasons.
Ivan Allan's New Zealand-bred private purchase griffin from last season, Kaapargen, is one to note for the future.
He showed definite promise when with Patrick Biancone and has repeated that in his work with Allan who trains So Easy for similar connections to Kaapargen's owners.
However, Kaapargen has had his problems, too, and it is probably best just to watch him this evening with a view to a future punt - especially over farther.
He's by Kaapstad, who is also the sire of Allan's Stellar Express, which tends to suggest he will come into his own around a mile, providing he can overcome his problems.
True Brother is another who has been troubled all season and he is reappearing after a substantial lay-off. He is likely to need the run before stepping up in distance.