A step up in trip and better draw give Call Me Awesome a great chance in the first section of the Class Four Saturn Handicap (1,650m) on a tricky card at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
Call Me Awesome’s only career win came late last season over the extended mile for former trainer Me Tsui Yu-sak after 11 unplaced efforts at sprint distances.
When Call Me Awesome did break through, it came courtesy of a tough effort at big odds in a messy race that was turned upside down by mid-race moves.
After receiving the five-year-old in a transfer following that win, trainer David Ferraris sent Call Me Awesome straight back to the successful course and distance first-up this term.
Racing for the first time in Class Three, Call Me Awesome was pushed to lead from a wide draw before weakening in another race where the pressure came on early.
Back to 1,200m at his next start, Call Me Awesome couldn’t go with some classy opposition early at Sha Tin but a closing fourth may have uncovered that the gelding prefers to find his feet early in a race and get home late.
Call Me Awesome stepped up to 1,400m for his next start and despite jumping well from a wide gate, was taken back to the rear and again displayed a strong finishing burst to finish fourth, with two of those ahead of him going on to record subsequent wins in Time To Celebrate and Spicy Sure.
Call Me Awesome dropped into Class Four but stayed at Sha Tin and was fourth again, this time racing wide with cover in a fast-run race and finishing just a length-and-a-quarter behind impressive winner Sacred Ibis.
A switch back to the Valley has brought with it a change of luck at the draw, with Call Me Awesome (Douglas Whyte) to jump from gate three.
The rail moves three metres from the C position to the C+3 where statistics show that low to middle draws are usually an advantage.
Whyte is on a horse that has the speed to cross the two horses drawn below him heading to the first turn and sit one or two lengths off the lead.
One of those horses drawn below Call Me Awesome, Frankie Lor Fu-chuen’s Mr Kool (Umberto Rispoli), should be included.
A HK$4,120,944 Triple Trio jackpot makes it worth a look and Caspar Fownes’ last start winner Cheerfuljet (Zac Purton) is the ideal horse to kick things off as banker in the opening leg.
Cheerfuljet was slowed by bleeding issues early in his career but seems to have grown through the problem in his second season.
The key to the four-year-old going back-to-back in the Class Four Jupiter Handicap (1,200m) is barrier three, from where Purton can settle the sometimes difficult to ride sprinter straight to the rail and into a rhythm early.
As Fownes pointed out after the horse’s impressive victory three weeks ago, it is all about flow for the gelding.
“He has a little bit of upside but he is quirky – you wouldn’t want to draw wide with him, he’s got a very sensitive mouth so he needs things to go his way,” he said.
Cheerfuljet will need that upside after going up eight points for the maiden win but should still start a pronounced favourite here.
Later in the night, Phantom Falcon (Dylan Mo Hin-tung) is another shooting for consecutive wins in the Class Three Venus Handicap (1,200m).
Phantom Falcon finally broke through after some unlucky efforts, including four consecutive seconds to start his career.
The four-year-old is right up to winning in this grade but another lightweight drawn well Star Of Joy (Karis Teetan) could provide stiff opposition.