A Wisky chaser can remedy a painful last start defeat for John Size’s miler at Happy Valley
Everything went wrong for the five-year-old last time out but Joao Moreira gets aboard and Wednesday night’s Class Four assignment looks ideal
Wisky was a tragedy beaten last start and a return to the same course and distance will see the John Size-trained five-year-old win his way out of Class Four in the Kingston Handicap (1,650m) at Happy Valley.
Three weeks after Wisky flashed home for second behind Travel Ambassador in a race where everything went wrong for Vincent Ho Chak-yiu, Joao Moreira jumps aboard and gets barrier four.
Drawn one last start, many expected Wisky to box seat, but not behind a 94-1 shot in Happy Beauty, and once Ho allowed Derek Leung Ka-chun to cross to the lead on the outsider early, things had already taken on an ugly look.
Happy Beauty began to give ground with more than 500m to go, carting Wisky back through the field, and left Ho helpless as he looked to extricate himself from the rail.
Craig Williams, riding the winner, took full advantage, looping the field around the turn and it proved the difference, with Wisky’s race position and momentum getting worse with each stride.
Once Wisky straightened he was seventh and just getting off heels, with no momentum, and Ho was forced to weave between runners in the straight.
Wisky did well to finish second in the end, getting past a notable rival on Wednesday night, Spinning Dancer (Silvestre de Sousa), who could figure after drawing a gate for the first time this season.
Spinning Dancer has drawn 12, 10, nine and nine in four starts this term and from two should be given an ideal run on the “A” course.
Also showing something in behind Travel Ambassador was Agiaal (Keith Yeung Ming-lun), but he will need a strong, even tempo to get into this contest, a scenario that doesn’t look likely.
Perhaps Kei Chiong Ka-kei will be sent forward on Metallic Star, and Go Go Win (Neil Callan) – another to get a better draw – will sit close.
But it is barrier four that looks like delivering a lovely setup for Moreira in a race that looks tailor-made for Wisky.
A better draw will also go a long way to helping Moreira earlier in the night when David Hall’s Gracydad contests the Great George Handicap (Class Four).
A couple of eye-catching efforts attracted the services of Moreira two starts back but Gracydad drew 11 on the “C + 3”. From there the sprinter had to work hard throughout and did a great job to be beaten just a neck into third.
Drawn 11 again last start, Moreira this time elected to go back, this time working home well behind smart-looking sprinter Isaac, but Gracydad looks a better horse racing handy and he will be able to take that spot again from gate five.
Isaac (Zac Purton) will start favourite in the following race, the second section of the Great George Handicap.
Having gone up seven ratings points for his last start win, Isaac carries 132 pounds in a top-heavy race but the four-year-old still has some upside heading into his third start.
For the quinella, perhaps Ace King (Olivier Doleuze) is the one after coming up with gate two following a disastrous turn as favourite at Sha Tin last start.
Ace King was sent out 2.5 favourite in a straight race but bombed the start and his effort to finish sixth should be forgiven.
Another son of Exceed and Excel, Wonderful Fighter, could be part of a big night for Moreira with the Ricky Yiu Poon-fai-trained five-year-old chasing back-to-back wins in the Cannon Handicap.
Wonderful Fighter was given a soft run in transit last time, beating some pretty average opposition, but the manner in which he did it suggests there is still something in hand.
I’m A Witness (De Sousa) could be one to watch down in the weights, especially from a low draw, as well as Fantastic Feeling (Sam Clipperton).