Suborics can make his mark for Cruz
Popular Austrian jockey Andreas Suborics has never ridden a winner for trainer Tony Cruz, but he gets the chance to break through in some style with Regency Luck in the feature SKOL Cup (1,200m) on the all-weather track this afternoon at Sha Tin.
In fact, Suborics has had just five rides for the Tony Cruz stable, with his best a third on Super Genki in January 2010.
But the trainer has obviously been caught on the hop when Matthew Chadwick was suspended for careless riding at the last meeting on April 1 with immediate effect and Cruz is having to use six different riders on his eight runners today.
Suborics has picked up two of those rides, with Take By Storm in the Class Five dirt sprint and in the Class Two over the same course and distance on Regency Luck.
In a tough race with quite a few chances, the consistent five-year-old is drawn ideally and looks as good a chance as any having put together a terrific record this season.
Regency Luck had one run at the end of last term, when he simply wasn't himself after a torrid time in quarantine, but fully recovered this time around - racing nine times for three wins, two seconds, a third and a fourth.
His latest was a win on the all-weather last month and his two starts on the surface suggest it may be his best. Regency Luck was second the other time behind Sky Mascot after doing plenty of work in the run, and in both those races the first two drew away from the rest of the field.
Suborics is likely to park just behind the speed from gate two, as Chadwick did winning last time, and it's a position that so often proves golden on this surface.
Expect a respectable speed , with Cheetah Boy (Howard Cheng Yue-tin) likely to press forward, back on to his preferred track. China Power (Ben So Tik-hung) is drawn out but has a light weight and has been ridden for pace at all his recent outings and is likely to be a nuisance to Cheetah Boy.
And then there is Final Answer (Brett Prebble), who can also be ridden for speed, with New Glory (Olivier Doleuze) also likely to be prominent.
New Glory has a handicap advantage on Regency Luck for beating him at their last Happy Valley meeting, though Regency Luck has more of an improving profile and might be better at the all-weather.
Still, New Glory is an interesting dirt runner himself - he has only been on the surface twice, two years ago, when he ran strong times to win in Class Three, then finished fourth behind Entrapment and Lucky Nine in this sort of grade.
Final Answer drops back to a suitable grade and looks a chance despite his big weight, though he doesn't map ideally from barrier eight - going forward he could engage in a speed battle and he may need to go back to midfield to get in.
Cheetah Boy is probably the most interesting runner. Switched to the dirt late last season and looked very good winning three out of three, then he hit his head on the barriers when he failed as favourite in June at his most recent attempt.
He was away from racing for six months after that and Tsui has prepped him for his return to the dirt with three recent turf runs and a trial.
The winning strike rate for Andreas Suborics this term