Ferraris pins Flemington hopes on apprentice Ng
David Ferraris' ambitious plans for a hit-and-run Group One mission to Australia with star colt Bear Hero are in the hands of 10-pound claiming apprentice Alvin Ng Ka-chun at Sha Tin on Sunday.
Ferraris said last year's champion griffin would have to win the Class Three handicap (1,200m) at the season-opening meeting to warrant a shot at the Coolmore Stakes at Flemington on October 29, in which he could face the best crop of Australian three-year-old sprinters in recent memory.
The South African trainer was expected to opt for experienced countryman Douglas Whyte for Sunday's critical race, but has instead placed Ng in the hot seat.
'We've just got to hope everything goes right for Sunday because that will be the decision to go to Flemington,' Ferraris said. 'If he wins really well, he'll be going.'
Bear Hero won three from three last season, with Ng, 21, aboard in his last start in a Class Three race.
Ferraris is impressed with the young 'veteran' of nearly 900 overseas rides, but it was Ng's generous claim which appealed under the conditions of the race.
'At the weight-for-age scale the horse is out of the weights, so it will bring him right back into the race,' he said.
'Alvin has a huge advantage on the rest of the kids. He's ridden 50 or 60-odd winners overseas. For kids to be claiming 10 pounds after they've been riding overseas is unheard of.'
Bear Hero faces taxing quarantine requirements for the trip Down Under. In fact, it was Australia's strict travel rules which stymied Ferraris' dreams of a Cox Plate run with champion Vengeance Of Rain in 2005.
Bear Hero would have to enter Sha Tin's quarantine facility on Monday and two days later leave for Melbourne's overseas training centre, where he would be prepared for three weeks leading up to the 1,200m sprint on Victoria Derby day.
Ferraris' sprinter is likely to face a red-hot field in the Coolmore, including last season's Australian two-year-old of the year Sepoy, and the only horse to have beaten that colt, Smart Missile.
Outweighing the concerns of hot competition is the stallion-making reputation of the race up the straight, six-furlong course.
Ferraris also said the son of General Nediym had furnished impressively during the off-season and his work had been 'faultless'.
'If you want to prove him as a stallion you've got to take them on,' the trainer said. 'He could have some serious upside to him if all goes well. I think he's a really good horse.'