Ng eyes a treble with Hussler
It has been a long time since Gary Ng Ting-keung saddled up a horse to win three races on end, but the popular handler has a shot in tonight's Happy Valley feature, the France Galop Cup (1,200m), with Vintage Hussler.
In early 2010, Ng landed three wins from four starts with brilliant Sweet Sanette, but we have to go back to Master Able in late 2006 to find the last stable runner to put together three in a row.
And there are a couple of hurdles for Vintage Hussler if he is to perform the feat and give jockey Eddy Lai Wai-Ming three wins in the only three runnings of this trophy event, but the four-year-old could not be in better form after recovering from serious illness.
The son of Hussonet began his career in great fashion around this time last year, finishing third on debut over 1,200m at Sha Tin, before winning at 1,000m down the straight. Vintage Hussler looked a more than useful sprinter for Ng coming into the new season, but that's where it all went wrong. Then the vets reported Vintage Hussler with pleuritis, also known as pleurisy, the day after his fourth birthday in August and it has taken Ng until now to nurse the horse back to top form.
And now that he has struck form, Vintage Hussler has hit the ground running at his past two outings to lead all the way at 1,000m. His form line reads three wins over 1,000m, so the step to 1,200m looks more of a question than the step into Class Three, but he raced well at the extra trip on debut. He has the speed to bounce out and lead and, if he does handle the extra 200m and win, it will make an interesting sidelight to the race which Lai has won on Holey Dollar and Quick Touch in its previous editions.
If the distance brings Vintage Hussler's run to an end, then Ricky Yiu Poon-fai's Impeccable (Olivier Doleuze) looks the one most likely to be camped just behind Ng's speedster and finding the line more strongly.