One of the most surprising aspects to Kei Chiong Ka-kei’s rookie season has been her encouraging results at Happy Valley and, with that in mind, the in-form apprentice is the jockey to follow in tomorrow night’s Triple Trio.
After just four meetings at the track, Chiong has ridden three of her 13 winners at the smaller and much more difficult course than the more spacious Sha Tin circuit.
Chiong heads into tomorrow night’s nine-race card riding a wave of confidence after four wins at Sha Tin on Sunday and is looking more composed every time she heads out to ride.
Ocean Roar and Who’sthedude both have their limitations but they look the right types of horses for her 10-pound claim and can go in as bankers in the first and last legs of the TT respectively.
Ocean Roar faces a difficult task in a highly competitive Class Three sprint – especially considering he has spent the whole of his 39-race career in Class Four – and two straight wins have seen his rating climb seven points higher than it has ever been.
Even if there doesn’t look like there is much upside for the Almond Lee-trained sprinter, Chiong’s claim throws the 1,000m specialist into an open race with just 109 pounds on his back.
Ocean Roar should lead from gate six and prove hard to gun down, but there will be plenty trying and this final leg is where to play widest – Top Bonus (Joao Moreira) will be up outside the lead and has to go in, but perhaps the biggest threat is Danny Shum Chap-shing-trained debutant Easy Touch (Zac Purton).
Easy Touch, a two-time winner in New Zealand, is far from the finished product, but maybe he has the sheer speed to make up for the inexperience.
Private Purchases have a terrible strike rate at the Valley, but Easy Touch has looked talented at the trials so a big run can be expected.
Smart Declaration (Brett Prebble) was incredibly unlucky last start but will need things to go his way after drawing wide.
The other two to include are Golden Sun (Gavin Lerena) and Mr Right (Derek Leung Ka-chun).
In the opening leg Richard Gibson has gone for Chiong’s claim on Who’sthedude in a shallow Class Four over 1,650m, and even if barrier 10 is a much tougher assignment than at recent starts, the race could play out perfectly for the four-year-old.
Who’sthedude should have enough speed to lead or at least be close to the pace in a race where sitting handy should be advantageous.
Also include The Sylph (Douglas Whyte), Tom’s Charm (Moreira), Galaxy Prancer (Purton) and Yeung Sing (Alex Lai Hoi-wing).
In the middle leg, a 1,200m Class Three, play skinny with four selections and no banker – Back In Black (Purton), Imperial Champion (Lerena), Mission Possible (Derek Leung Ka-chun) and Tango Fire (Ben So Tik-hung).