Best Tango can continue trainer David Hall’s terrific record with stable transfers and give jockey Joao Moreira yet another winner for high-flying owner Albert Hung Chao-hong on Wednesday night at Happy Valley.
Hall seems to have a knack of getting the best out of older, under performing horses and in recent seasons has racked up winning sequences with stable transfers Bamboo Dance, who won six straight races under his care, and Solar Great, winner of five straight, including a Group Three victory.
Best Tango won the 2013 Group Three Premio Parioli Italian 2,000 Guineas, but has never lived up to his pre-import billing and Hall will have his work cut out with the gelding.
The seven-year-old arrives with the usual list of issues and an appalling record of one win from 35 starts, having not saluted in nearly two years.
Yet Best Tango has raced well at times this season, particularly at his last two starts, and looks well placed off a mark of 49 with a good draw in the Jardine’s Lookout Handicap.
A win would give Moreira a fifth winner this season for horses raced by Hung after BMW Hong Kong Derby hero Rapper Dragon’s clean sweep of the four-year-old series and a win on Invincible Dragon earlier this season.
It would also cap an incredible month for the Brazilian, who has won 26 races in March to take his domestic tally to 126 winners, with more than a third of the season still remaining.
Moreira has a great working relationship with Hall, the pair having won six races together this term, and the lightweight jockey has been aboard Best Tango is his fast work and a barrier trial since the stable move.
Best Tango’s 1,200m trial on the dirt was encouraging and it is somewhat surprising the son of Mujahid (by Danzig), has not been tried on the all weather track at some stage, especially given his apparent slight preference for the tighter turns and more forgiving surface at the city circuit.
The draw looms as key for Best Tango, who was forced to race too far back from an awkward gate and a slow start last time out.
If Moreira can get Best Tango to jump well, he should get an ideal run on the C + 3 course and breakthrough for a win carrying 122 pounds.
There doesn’t look an abundance of speed in the race despite the presence of a couple of horses that will definitely be willing to take up front-running roles, Sparkling Sword (Alvin Ng Ka-chun) and Midnite Promise (Umberto Rispoli).
Leowl (Derek Leung Ka-chun) has raced handy at 1,650m and beyond previously while Sum Win Dragon will be hunting forward for a place in the first five or six with live wire jockey Karis Teetan aboard.
Despite the race being one section of a Class Four, it looks relatively tough; Mutual Joy (Nash Rawiller) never wins by much, his three victories this season have been by a combined margin of less than three quarters of a length, but a low draw and a guaranteed soft run behind the speed enhance his chances.
Soul Achiever (Douglas Whyte) also looks to be getting closer to a win, with the six-year-old having turned a corner of late after battling leg issues for the last few seasons.
Meanwhile, the Jockey Club has given permission to four jockeys to travel overseas for Group One races this weekend.
Moreira, Zac Purton and Sam Clipperton are going to Sydney for the first day of The Championships, while Leung is off to New Zealand to ride Princess Rihanna in the Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes at Awapuni.
There is also good news for new Hong Kong apprentice Matthew Poon, who is OK and expected to be cleared for Sunday’s meeting after being taken to hospital following a scary incident when General Iron ran over him during his first meeting at Sha Tin.