Trainer Danny Shum Chap-shing is enjoying one of his best seasons and the championship leader can keep that trend going with Romantic Cash in the Mercury Handicap (1,200m) at Happy Valley tonight.
With 22 wins on the board, Shum is almost halfway to his best-ever season of 47 wins but with only a third of the current term behind him. In the Happy Valley Million Challenge, nobody is better placed, with Shum the trainer of the top three point scorers, including Romantic Cash (Derek Leung Ka-chun) who will be chasing his fourth win this season at the city track tonight.
After showing promise early, Romantic Cash had a year off with injury but has come back to top form this term as a lightly raced five-year-old. He is the ideal Valley horse, with good speed to camp on the pace and a nice kick when he lets down and has looked good winning with some authority in his past two.
In truth, there looks nothing between Romantic Cash and his main rival, Divine Boy (Joao Moreira), with only the fact that the Shum-trained galloper should race in front of his main opponent swinging the preference his way.
The pace could come from the 1,000m specialist Go Baby Go and You Read My Mind, as they press forward to offset outside draws. Romantic Cash is the other pace influence but Leung might take a trail rather than using the gelding early, allowing him to pounce on the first two after straightening up.
Divine Boy arrived from Australia with a soft maiden win at his only run and a big reputation and ran as a warm favourite his first start here, but failed to live up to the hype. Now a four-year-old, he has become better acclimatised and was impressive scoring Class Threes in his past two starts, ridden quietly and hitting the line hard.