Jockey Nash Rawiller and trainer Danny Shum Chap-shing have really struck a chord this season and Presidentparamount looks a great chance of adding to the duo’s tally in the Tai Tam Handicap (Class Three) on Wednesday night at Happy Valley.
The narrow win of Green Dispatch on Sunday at Sha Tin was Rawiller’s fifth for Shum’s stable this season from just 20 rides at a healthy win strike rate of 25 per cent, while the pair have a place strike rate of 50 per cent as well.
Presidentparamount heads third-up into a top heavy Class Three that lacks depth and gets a much better draw than last start as he drops from gate 12 into six on the “C” course.
The two horses to beat look to be two others near the top of the weights, Hang’s Decision (Zac Purton) and Happy Bao Bei (Brett Prebble).
Chris So Wai-yin’s Hang’s Decision has come back a better horse this season and, after winning first-up, was a game second last start behind Both Lucky – a horse he meets eight pounds better here.
Me Tsui Yu-sak has gone for the blinkers on Happy Bao Bei in an effort to extract a win from a seven-year-old that has finished top four in his last four starts and hasn’t won since June 2015.
Barrier draws are vital with the rail out in the “C” position and Manfred Man Ka-leung’s sprinter Secret Agent (Alex Lai Hoi-wing) has drawn ideally in gate two in the Kam Shan Handicap (Class Four).
Secret Agent could represent some value with Lai aboard and is a genuine winning chance having won three times over the 1,200m course and competed well off a similar rating late last term.
The six-year-old’s lead-up trial was excellent as he ranged up outside top class sprinter Amazing Kids on the dirt at Sha Tin.
Benno Yung Tin-pang’s sprinter Wild Boy was terribly unlucky last start and now has drawn 11 with Joao Moreira replacing Opie Bosson. Shining Champion (Chad Schofield) and Yo-Yo Da (Karis Teetan) are the ones they will come for in betting, and rightfully so in a race that lacks depth.
How the Tai Lam Handicap (Class Five) is assessed depends on what can be made of Safari Magic being brought back from 1,650m to 1,000m on a one week back-up.
The sharp drop back in trip seems an unconventional move to say the least by trainer Me Tsui Yu-sak, but Safari Magic has been successful at the distance previously, albeit in a race where there was a strong tempo up front.
Nash Rawiller replaces Brett Prebble on Safari Magic in a race that looks standard Class Five fare, but whether or not he gets the required tempo to run on remains a huge query.
Moreira on Giddy Giddy will be forced to push hard from gate 12 and the overall race speed will depend on how many horses want to hunt for forward spots.
Perhaps the biggest threat is Michael Chang Chun-wai’s Perfect Smart (Olivier Doleuze), with the five-year-old coming back to the course and distance where he has notched his one and only success in 17 starts.