Fownes ready to rule Valley again with Flying Supreme
Trainer Caspar Fownes has pulled the right rein with tough four-year-old Flying Supreme in freshening him up since some hard racing early in the season, and that should bring a dividend in the Choi Ying Handicap (1,650m) at Happy Valley tonight.
There is no trophy race on the low-key card, but the Class Two extended mile is the highest-quality event and Flying Supreme (Gerald Mosse) has the draw and the weight to see him take his record to an imposing six wins from 15 starts.
Fownes has had a slower than usual run of late, winning with only four of his last 86 runners and only four of his last 53 at the Valley, where he is the dominant trainer each season. But, after jumping quickly from the blocks this term, Fownes has paid the price in the ratings and many of his stock have reached a tough mark quickly.
That may not be the case just yet with Flying Supreme, and Fownes looks to have handled the four-year-old cannily in an effort to squeeze one more success from him.
A winner at three of seven runs for the yard, Flying Supreme was pumped up for the start of the term and a tough winner second-up at Sha Tin over 1,400m. He did plenty of work going forward but lasted until the line for a narrow but very tough win, then again did some work racing forward in a solid pace at his next outing.
Flying Supreme then didn't have things all his way in running when fifth in November at his second attempt at this trip, so his stats don't tell the full story. In addition, those couple of hard runs at Sha Tin may have taken their toll, and he looks suited with six weeks between runs and, significantly, Fownes has not barrier-trialled him either.
The only plus to Able Speed's barrier 11 might be that going back to the 'A' course will at least give Darren Beadman the chance to ride the gelding cold. Able Speed has run his best races held up, but with the track favouring on-pace runners on December 8 last start, he was sent forward on the tighter 'B' course, covering ground for the first half of the race. He boxed on well enough to think he will be a serious danger ridden more quietly.
Flying Supreme is ideally placed to take his record to an imposing six wins from this many starts: 15