Inside gate gives Impeccable the edge

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 25 April, 2012, 12:00am


Inside draws are gold at Happy Valley and that gives Ricky Yiu Poon-fai-trained Impeccable a chance to bounce back into the winner's circle in tonight's St George's Challenge Cup (1,200m).

Since the Jockey Club gained permission to go to 83 meetings per season, the dreaded C+3 'greyhound' meetings at the city course have made a serious comeback to the season's programme.

In the last 112 races on the widest rail placement - back to the 2009-10 season - horses drawn one to five have had a 63 per cent winning strike rate, and the only way that might show a change would be the advent of some serious wet weather to muddy things up.

This season alone, 19 of 24 winners at the C+3 course have started inside six, and this feature looks to be dominated by low draw horses.

Impeccable (Alex Lai Hoi-wing) comes off a last-start Class Four failure over 1,400m at Sha Tin and rises in grade - not usually a great formula for success - but there is reason to expect improvement.

Following a Class Four win at this course with 133 pounds, Impeccable was scratched from a race on March 4 with an infected hind leg. He took two weeks to get over that and back into proper training so he wasn't at his best for the April 1 race over 1,400m, hardly his best trip anyway.

He drops to 115 pounds, will be fitter and better suited at this distance and has the pace to take advantage of his three gate.

The obvious danger is My Goal (Douglas Whyte) from the pole position, who looks to have found a new lease on life as a sprinter after being more of a miler for most of his career.

Trainer Peter Ng Bik-kuen has 23 successes this term, his best since he trained 30 in 1992-93 and the second-best performance of his 28-year career.

My Goal is one of the 19 horses which Ng and others took over from retiring handler Alex Wong Yu-on at the end of the 2010-11 season and 11 of those horses have already won 18 races between them, mostly for Ng.