Matthew Chadwick has ridden wire-to-wire winners at the past two Happy Valley meetings and will be gunning to do the same on California Fortune in the Class Three Roselle Handicap (1,200m) on Wednesday night.
California Fortune was an impressive three-quarter-length winner for Chadwick at the Valley two weeks ago before The Golden Age put himself into the picture for the four-year-old series with an all the way victory last Wednesday.
With the rail out in the C position, Chadwick will again be gunning for the lead from barrier four and the jockey said the speed map looks promising as far as getting his own way in front.
“He has drawn nicely and should have the pace to lead again,” Chadwick said. “Most of his rivals sit behind the pace usually so he should get a similar opportunity this time against a similar type of field. He has more weight this time of course, with 130 pounds, but he is a very strong horse and that shouldn’t worry him.”
California Fortune’s dam Mimi Lebrock was a Magic Millions Classic winner in Australia as a juvenile, a two-time winner over 1,400m at Group Three level and placed twice at Group One level over a mile.
By champion sire Fastnet Rock, California Fortune cost connections HK$2,700,000 at auction as a yearling and the sprinter has grown into one of Hong Kong racing’s more imposing types at more than 1,270 pounds.
“He is a very big horse, with a big action – but that means it’s important to get him into a rhythm and get his breathing right,” Chadwick said.
The jockey also believes the best is yet to come for the relatively untapped four-year-old.
“That was only his second run here and fifth overall, so he should be getting better, his work in the morning had picked up. He is very relaxed, a really cool customer and looks after himself,” Chadwick said.
Kwaichung Brothers’ only win came in Class Five earlier this season but Chadwick hadn’t given up on the five-year-old breaking through up in grade in the Bellflower Handicap (1,200m).
Barrier three is a boost for Kwaichung Brothers’ chances and Chadwick said he will be keeping a close watch on jockey Joao Moreira and likely race favourite Manful Star.
“Joao has drawn just inside me in gate one, my horse doesn’t have much early speed but hopefully I am not far away from him in the run, and just sit off him,” Chadwick said.
“He has had a good break between runs. Admittedly he is that half length off them in Class Four and just needs a few things to go his way, but maybe this is a race where that can happen.”