Trainer Chris So Wai-yin has had a tremendous season already but he can add another victory to his personal best tally with Classic Emperor in the Hoi Ha Handicap (1,650m) at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
In his fourth term as a trainer, So has already notched up 54 victories to hold down fourth place on the ladder and that’s a very good return.
Classic Emperor (Derek Leung Ka-chun) has already made a contribution, with two wins from his nine appearances this season, and the smart five-year-old faces his moment of truth as he tackles Class Two for the first time.
Plenty of horses look good making their way through Class Four and Class Three then find this grade another matter, but Classic Emperor is taking the plunge at the right time.
More frequently lately we have seen horses put in disappointing efforts, with the conclusion reached that they have come to the end of their tether and are in need of a break.
But Classic Emperor has the fresh legs in Wednesday night’s fast class race after a break of four months between his last two appearances.
When he returned on June 11, his win was assisted by a remarkable race, marred early by two horses losing their riders, and marred late by one of the riderless horses knocking the first three favourites out of play in the straight.
So, Classic Emperor probably didn’t get the credit he deserved for winning after such a long break and he should be in the same or even better condition when he steps out here.
On the C+3 course, his barrier two draw looks perfect and he is likely to have the fence trailing the leader, probably Time Warp, and keeping his powder dry before the straight. If for some reason the lead role is vacant, we have seen Classic Emperor very effective in front too.
For dangers in an open race, the most appealing are Inventor (Karis Teetan) and Big Bang Bong (Joao Moreira).