Michael Chang Chun-wai could be heard for miles around with his hooting and hollering after the win of Our Folks in a Class Three on Wednesday, but his cheers could ring across country borders if stable stalwart Rich Tapestry manages to complete a rare day-to-day two-country double for the trainer at Meydan on Thursday night.
Chang, complete with his trademark cigar, couldn’t hide his delight as he scored his 10th win of the season with Our Folks (Karis Teetan), but he quickly turned his focus to Dubai and the Group Three Al Shindagha Sprint (1,200m), to be run in the early hours of Friday morning, Hong Kong time.
It is a race that was won five years ago by another Hong Kong raider, Ricky Yiu Poon-fai’s Dynamic Blitz, and Chang is excited to see what Rich Tapestry can produce fresh, with the eight-year-old yet to miss a place from three starts at Meydan.
“I know two of his runs were on the Tapeta, but he showed he handled the dirt fine last year when third in the Golden Shaheen – and obviously his best win was at Santa Anita on dirt,” Chang said ahead of his late-night flight to Dubai last night. “I’m not sure what happened earlier this week when his name wasn’t listed in the entries, but luckily it was fixed and we will hopefully get three runs into him. The first race will probably be the easiest, but he won the Mahab Al Shimaal two years ago and has placed twice in the Shaheen too.”
Here's this morning's canter for Rich Tapestry - body weight 1,098lb, right around best, 26lb down from last start pic.twitter.com/vvydcnxVP3— scmpRacingPost (@SCMPRacingPost) February 10, 2016
The local trainer admits he doesn’t know much about Rich Tapestry’s rivals, but a little bit of quick form study and some helpful hints from international form experts have led him to believe that the son of Holy Roman Emperor can add another trophy to the cabinet.
“I think he should be able to finish top three, within a couple of lengths, and with a little luck he can win, definitely,” Chang said. “His body weight is spot on, he was pretty fit when he left but he thrived when he arrived in Dubai. He just loves travelling.”
“From what I can see, there looks to be not too much speed so hopefully he shows his normal gate speed and can get across to be handy. I am told the Godolphin horse is the one to beat, Marking – he ran second to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Runhappy, and I know the trainer Kiaran McLaughlin has said that he thinks his horse will win. But I have also been told he is a bit of a crazy horse, and the one thing about Rich Tapestry is that he is a complete professional, having travelled the world so often.”
From Group Three dreams to Class Three reality, Our Folks was a step down for Chang, but he still talked enthusiastically about a horse he labelled “an honest trier”.
“It was the owner’s birthday, and he had already had one horse scratched at the gates so I felt quite a bit of pressure,” Chang said. “But it was a calm, cool ride from Karis, he controlled the race all the way and I felt quite confident. It was only his second win, but he is a bit tricky – he won over 1,400m before but I don’t think he truly stays 1,400m, so it was about finding the right 1,200m race for him.”
Our Folks was the second leg of a double for Teetan, having steered Yiu’s Prompt Express to an all-the-way win earlier in the day, but the Mauritian jockey’s day was soured when he finished second on the last two favourites, Jolly Jolly and Easy Hedge.