Lee targets Valley prize with Happy Yeah Yeah
The next edition of the Happy Valley Million Challenge doesn't kick off until September, but the Almond Lee-trained Happy Yeah Yeah fired the first shot without ever having raced at the city course when he took the Hong Kong Island Handicap (1,200m).
The four-year-old son of Kashani has improved at each of his four starts, putting the writing on the wall with second to Super Goodies last time before he led throughout under Douglas Whyte yesterday.
There was no fancy margin for punters who took up the short odds, but he delivered the result by half-a-length from the fast-finishing Potential and aimed himself squarely at the Valley contest later this year.
'He's got speed and the owner has asked me to try to win the Happy Valley Million Challenge, so that is where he's headed,' said Lee. 'The horse is nearly five already but I hope that he will have some improvement because he has had very little racing.'
Whyte said he applauded the owner of Happy Yeah Yeah for having a target in mind even at this stage and he had no doubts about the gelding coping with the smaller, turning circuit at Happy Valley.
'He feels like the right type to me - he's got the makings of a really good bread and butter horse there,' Whyte said. 'Only time will tell if he goes far enough up the rankings to win the Million Challenge, but his natural gate speed is going to take him a long way in races around the Valley.'
It was the bright spot in Whyte's day, with odds-on punters in the Jockey Challenge burned when Whyte was always prominent but unable to get a decisive grip at any stage before finishing third to Alvin Ng Ka-chun and Jeff Lloyd. The single victory left Whyte four shy of a century for the term with the two meetings left.