Lucky Year should top off a great Happy Valley season for trainer Danny Shum Chap-shing tonight by taking out the Luger Handicap (1,200m) at the city track.
Shum has enjoyed a great season, full stop, but he has dominated proceedings at Happy Valley to be the leading trainer there with 35 wins and Lucky Year (Nash Rawiller) has played his part with three wins at the course from five attempts.
His only defeats came after racing wide from barrier 10 and running third in a good class sprint in March, and then he was the victim of severe interference in April and did a decent job to finish fifth.
His record at the course is excellent and Lucky Year gets the right set-up tonight to go on with the job and make it four Valley wins after holding off tonight’s rival, Eroico, last start in May.
The gelding was preparing to start a short-priced favourite again on June 9 but was withdrawn with a foot abscess a couple of days prior.
Shum has given him time to get over that and a trial to have him ready again and Lucky Year has shown that he thrives on the fresh side.
With good speed in tonight’s race from Go Baby Go and Almababy crossing from wider draws, Rawiller may hold the front initially from the rails draw but has the option to tuck into the box seat should the tempo require it.
That gives Lucky Year all the tactical pluses, with his main dangers Born In China (Douglas Whyte) and Eroico (Joao Moreira) likely to be giving him a start into the straight.
Interestingly, Moreira rode Lucky Year in four of his five Valley runs and switches to Eroico tonight, which punters might take as a guide to the prospects of the John Size-trained gelding but the draw has been unkind.
When he finished second to Lucky Year in May, Eroico had gate three and a perfect trip but he has barrier 11 tonight.