Rich Unicorn can make light work of top weight
It's the usual game of pick the right lane on the all-weather track tonight, but consistent Rich Unicorn can defy his big handicap weight and get himself back in the winner's photo after the Ho Chung River Handicap (1,200m).
Rich Unicorn (Douglas Whyte) has a fair bit on his plate with 133 pounds and conceding 16 pounds to his strongest rival, Flashing Aura (Jeff Lloyd), but the John Size-trained sprinter has been a model of consistency.
His seven starts, for three wins and two seconds, include two victories on the all-weather course and there has been nothing amiss with his form on the turf either.
However, Size said early on that he suspected Rich Unicorn might be a more comfortable horse on the dirt as he puts his feet down hard when he gallops, so he might be reverting to this surface in an effort to squeeze another win out of the gelding now he is high in the ratings.
His latest second to Tailwind gave the impression he is just about on his handicap mark, looming to win after having an easier run than the winner. Still, Size is a master at squeezing that extra length out of horses who look to have met their level and Rich Unicorn could be a case in point.
The trick for Whyte is going to be to slot across behind the speed, virtually all of which is drawn underneath him. That might see Rich Unicorn get back to midfield again, as he did at Sha Tin last time out, but with speedy Windicator Returns and Flashing Aura both potential leaders, he should have the chance to run on.
Flashing Aura is another with a consistent record in a light career. He makes the rise from Class Three to what is basically a Class Two, dropping in the weights for that, but is drawn to have options if the wrestle for the lead is too strong.
The third pin of what looks a three-cornered contest is Elite Of Chiu Ton (Matthew Chadwick), who made a big impression coming from last to win in Class Three on the same surface at his second run for Tony Cruz.
He looked a decent type winning both his juvenile runs in England in mid-2008 before arriving and has had plenty of problems, restricting him to only five starts. That last-start victory really caught the eye but, from gate nine, he is probably going to have to do something similar in the harder grade.
Producing the goods
The John Size-trained Rich Unicorn has got his career off to a perfect start, earning: HK$2.3m