David Ferraris has bounced back to form this season and a couple of less heralded horses that have been knocking on the door can add to his win total on Wednesday night at Happy Valley.
Ferraris’ 32 wins so far is already his best return since he landed 38 in 2008-09 and with seven meetings remaining in the term he could challenge that figure.
The South African sends five runners to the Valley and believes each of them has a genuine winning chance, starting with Confucius Spirit in the Class Four Ninepin Group Handicap (1,200m).
Confucius Spirit came to Ferraris via transfer after the departure of Sean Woods with just two wins on his resume, a Class Five victory the all-weather track and the other on rain affected ground in a Class Four at Happy Valley last March.
“He is in great form but let’s hope the rain sticks around, as it clearly helps him,” Ferraris said.
Karis Teetan rides Confucius Spirit for the fifth straight start and is taking heart from the form around the seven-year-old since the last start second a month ago.
“The horse that beat him, Master Viking, came out and won again and the horse we beat into third, Clever Spirit, won last week as well,” Teetan said. “I think he is on a rating that he can win off. He certainly doesn’t need to drop any lower.”
Teetan also rides the Ferraris-trained Kiram, a horse that seemed to be edging closer to a win early in the term but has been off the scene since December with persistent left front foot issue.
Drawing barrier 12 was a major blow on the C course in the Class Three Cheung Chau Handicap (1,200m), but Teetan said the six-year-old does have some factors in his favour.
“That draw will make it very difficult, but a lot of these horses he is up against are tired and need to carry a lot of weight,” he said.
“He has had a nice break, so he might just have a little more juice than the others. He trialled well last week down the straight, and although he was off for a while, he is taking his work well.”
Barrier one could help Plain Blue Banner (Douglas Whyte) spring a surprise in the Class Five Peng Chau Handicap (1,650m).
Plain Blue Banner’s first two wins came with Whyte aboard from the inside alley.
“He is just a Class Five horse and he does need everything his way,” Ferraris said.
Ferraris feels Matthew Poon Ming-fai’s claim is perfect for Fantastic Feeling in the Class Three Manawatu Racing Club Challenge Trophy (1,200m).
“He has done a great job to work his way up to where he is with two wins this season and I think he gets in very well with the 10 pounds off his back,” he said.