Here we are again – the Chris So Wai-yin-trained Master Albert is the one to beat in the second division of the Ho Man Tin Handicap (1,200m) at Happy Valley on Wednesday night but the race is no pushover.
So far, punters have sent Master Albert (Joao Moreira) out as favourite in four starts out of four in Hong Kong – and at odds of 2.1, 2.5, 1.9 and 2.1 – and they have got their fingers burnt.
It isn’t that Master Albert has not raced well, he has, but the public has overrated his ability to win those races and paid the price, so it will be interesting to see what odds punters are willing to take here.
In his first three local starts, Master Albert had barriers and tempos against him and he would have needed to be lengths better than the opposition to overcome those disadvantages and he was not.
That was not the case with his last defeat, when Master Albert did look to get his chance and wasn’t quite good enough on the night six weeks ago, but So has freshened him up, been back to the trials and found a suitable race.
Barrier eight looks a touch awkward but, with speed engaged from All Great Friends, Harbour Alert and Thor The Greatest, there looks a decent enough tempo and Moreira might be able to slip into midfield to overcome that draw.
He gets his chance from there to close the race out strongly, if indeed that is his capability – before they crunch into the short odds, punters might want to consider that Master Albert’s two impressive wins in Australia were at 1,000m and 1,100m and his stamina is still an open question.
That isn’t the case with his main danger, Chung Wah Spirit (Tommy Berry), who has been travelling quite strongly in longer races and not quite getting to the line and might enjoy the drop back to a distance where he will be strong at the finish.