Chris So Wai-yin is confident Prince Harmony can absorb a steep ratings rise and continue the stable’s strong form through the second half of the season in the Violet Hill Handicap at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
Prince Harmony will be chasing three straight as the four-year-old makes the leap into Class Three, having jumped 11 points courtesy of a facile three-and-a-half length win a month ago.
“It’s a big rise, but what are you going to do? Of course you worry about whether or not a horse can handle a big jump like that, but there is no point complaining about it, we just have to get on with trying to win again, and I think he can,” So said.
“He still seems to be improving as a horse and he will be better for that last run, he would have gained a lot of confidence, so I expect him to be first three. Maybe he hasn’t reached his limit just yet.”
So started the season with a flurry of wins, with nine from the first six fixtures and 27 from the first 33 placing him near the top of the trainers’ championship.
The 48-year-old passed his previous personal best of 39 winners in early April and has continued to chip away and now sits fourth in the championship, behind big guns John Size, John Moore and Caspar Fownes.
Joao Moreira takes over from the suspended Douglas Whyte on Prince Harmony and will claim one-pound over the 115 pounds assigned to the gelding in what looks a wide-open 1,200m contest.
The connections of almost every runner in the 12-horse field will feel they have some sort of chance, but it is another lightweight that So feels is the biggest threat.
“The Supreme might be the one to beat,” So said, referring to Peter Ho Leung’s sprinter. “He got home very strongly last start.”
Six of Prince Harmony’s rivals finished in the first four at their last starts, but it isn’t just the in-form runners to watch in the race.
Paul O’Sullivan’s course specialist Back In Black (Zac Purton) drops to a dangerous mark and, after some solid trackwork, a significant drop in bodyweight looks a key indicator.
Back In Black climbed into Class Two after five wins last season and struggled but looks a dangerous conveyance back in the more comfortable confines of Class Three.
The five-year-old was a touch disappointing last start in mid-April after dropping back grade, but Back In Black appears to have returned in better shape.
The winning range for Back In Black’s bodyweight has been between 1,050 and 1,061 pounds, and the sprinter weighed in at 1,054 pounds for this, down 23 pounds from his last start.