Jockey Zac Purton and trainer Ricky Yiu Poon-fai are an infrequent combination but have a good strike rate when they do team up and Cheer Win can improve that formline on Wednesday night in the Rotary Centenary Challenge Cup (1,200m) at Happy Valley.
Purton’s very first Hong Kong winner back in 2007, Elfhelm, was trained by Yiu but the records show that they don’t get together all that often.
In more than four years stretching back to late 2012, Purton has ridden for Yiu just 56 times and it’s often only a double handful of mounts in a season, but the good news is that 11 of those rides have been successful.
His latest ride for Yiu was a winner, Outlawed, and the relatively lightly raced three-year-old Cheer Win finds a race to suit from his good draw, if Purton can get the gelding to use it.
The event looks evenly run, with the most likely leaders, Forever Fun, Grace Heart and Buddy Bundy all drawn next to each other in the outside part of the field. Everyone will expect them to jump and cross the field, with the best position on the tight C+3 course looking to be trailing them.
From gate two, that’s where Cheer Win should be, provided he shows enough speed to get around Winning Controller early and find the fence. From there, he will be two back or three back on the rail and rolling into the race around the home turn ready to finish over the front runners.
He’s no star but Cheer Win won’t have to be to go close in a modest field.
Look for some improvement from the John Size-trained Nashashuk (Chad Schofield), who got a long way out of his last run from a wide draw early, then held his place to the line in a race dominated by those up the front.
He draws better here and will be fitter as that was his first race for three months.