After fluffing his Dubai debut, Chris So Wai-yin hopes Classic Emperor makes the most of his second chance in Saturday night’s Group Three Burj Nahaar at Meydan.
The dirt specialist’s first overseas start was over a second after it began when he stumbled out of the gates, dislodging rider Derek Leung Ka-chun.
Classic Emperor came through the February 22 incident unscathed and the trainer is now giving him another opportunity to show what he is capable of.
“That was very disappointing, a lot of people put in work for us to be here,” So said. “But we always told the owner that we had two options – we picked the small field and it didn’t work, so now we’re taking the second option.”
So has done his best to ensure there is no misstep this time around, putting Classic Emperor through the barriers at trackwork.
“He jumped out of the gates on 1 March and he jumped well. I watched the video and the boys said everything was fine,” So said.
“He’s always jumped fast and I even told [jockey] Keith Yeung [Ming-lun] to watch out for him when he did it at Sha Tin on the dirt, the horse just wants to get going. Maybe he tries to rush, he’s eager, and just dips down; but also I think the deeper track here caught the horse by surprise, he couldn’t get his feet up once he’d stumbled.
“But everything’s gone well with his training, my staff are very happy with the horse, he’s settled here and now we just need some luck.”
Irish jockey Oisin Murphy, who spent time in Hong Kong last season, takes the ride on Classic Emperor and will be told to push forward from barrier seven on the sandy surface.
“The kickback is a big factor,” So said “The plan is for Oisin to let him get away from the gate fast and get forward. We should jump better than last time – just go and then see how we finish.
“Last time I was here I saw that not many horses can make up ground, that’s the way it seems to be here. The track is quite heavy and horses struggle to come from behind.”
Classic Emperor was rated a 16-1 chance in some early markets, with Heavy Metal the odds-on favourite.
The Salem bin Ghadayer-trained gelding scored a dominant win in this race last year and is the one they have to beat after another strong campaign while Kimbear ($5.50) and Dream Castle ($8.50) are the other runners in single figures.
The Jockey Club is simulcasting seven races from the “Super Saturday” card, including the feature, the Group One Jebel Hatta, with the first getting underway at 8pm.