Chevalier King ready to reign
The John Moore-trained Chevalier King has a great record over the Happy Valley 1,000m course and that gives him the edge in the Daffodil Handicap tonight.
With no trophy race on the eight-event trade programme, the Class Two Daffodil Handicap looks the night's highlight and Chevalier King (Darren Beadman) has the ability to overcome a tricky draw to win it. The four-year-old has run six times at the minimum trip at the Valley for three wins and two minor placings, at least one of which he should have won, and he has yet to finish out of the top four.
A four-year-old with 14 starts behind him, he should just about be at his peak as a racehorse and, while he has yet to win in Class Two, his last start attempt at the grade left no doubt he will handle it.
Off a 10-week break due to a joint problem in late December, Chevalier King looked keener than was in his best interests over 1,200m but still found the line behind Turbo King for fifth.
He should be better for that run and isn't going to find any Turbo Kings in the field he meets this time. With an awkward gate of barrier nine, a good tempo is going to be vital if Beadman is going to be able to offset that disadvantage but, with 120 pounds on board, Chevalier King looks capable of overcoming a few difficulties and still win.
One horse with an ideal draw is California Moon (Alex Lai Hoi-wing) in gate four and he returns to the scene of his win at the track in mid-December. The Tony Cruz-trained sprinter got all the favours to win that night, before disappointing last time at Sha Tin, but he appears to be preferring more forgiving surfaces as he gets older.
While California Moon has at times looked in need of more ground and has been tried up to 1,650m, the cold hard facts of it remain that he has run three times for three wins at 1,000m, so the drop back from 1,200m should be seen as a positive.
Moore and Cruz will saddle half the field between them and hold the keys to the speed of it as a result, but Bundle O' Gold and Mr Celerity can also be contributors to a worthwhile tempo.
Chevalier King, who has won four times from 14 starts, has collected prize money of: HK$2.55m