Marcus set to build on Valley tally
CHAMPION jockey Basil Marcus has laid the foundations for his third successive title on the shifting equitrack surface of Happy Valley and he can add to what could be a record tally for him this season in the first leg of the Double Trio tomorrow night.
Racing remains at Happy Valley after the excellent Martell Grand National meeting on Saturday but there is a lacklustre look about tomorrow night's fare on the maligned synthetic surface.
But Marcus will have no complaints about riding topweight Amigo for trainer John Moore in the fourth event and the five-year-old gelding's return to the dirt should result in success.
Stable rider John Marshall rode Amigo last time over 1,400 metres on the turf at Sha Tin but that has never been the gelding's best trip or track. Marshall is on Moore's other runner in this event, Kwacha.
Amigo broke through to win for visiting Gerald Mosse three starts back on the equitrack surface over this 1,600-metre trip - and it was a comprehensive win.
Still at the Valley, he was narrowly touched off at his next start over 1,650 metres on the grass by Sweet Win before going to Sha Tin for his abortive mission over 1,400 metres. In the context of his overall form, the Sha Tin run is best forgotten and reference is best made to his efforts under Mosse at the city track which he quite clearly favours.
Kwacha won for Marcus last time out on the Valley grass over 1,650 metres and has solid equitrack form. But he was pushed right out to score by a head and it was in significantly weaker company than this.
The big threat to Amigo is the Neville Begg-trained Local Colour who showed a return to form with a third placing at big odds last time over 1,400 metres.
He is another equitrack practitioner and it's not hard to believe that he has been set for this race. He will start at a fraction of the 27-1 about him last time but should still be backable with claimer Vicki C. W. Choi aboard.
There's not a lot of depth to the race and last start course and distance winner Hammerhead is probably best of the rest - although this is a fairly stiff rise in class.
There is a jaded look to the field assembled for the second leg of the DT and a chance could be taken with Solar Century who has performed creditably on equitrack in the past.
Solar Century will be ridden by crack claimer Francis K. S. Lam and the gelding is ready to run a decent race.
Little Big Horn, from the Lawrie Fownes stable, returns to the track that he relishes and after a good run over 1,400 metres on the grass last time should definitely be included.
Last start winner Blue Baron steps up in distance and trainer Alex Wong Yu-on, who had a welcome success with The Sure Thing on Saturday, has called up maximum claimer Eddie W. M. Lai.