David Ferraris heads to Happy Valley with high hopes for two horses returning from lay-offs as Amazing and Call Me Awesome resume after solid lead-up trials.
The South African trainer sends four horses to the races, all of them to be ridden by leading local Derek Leung Ka-chun and each appearing to have a solid chance.
Amazing arrived with Ferraris from former trainer Francis Lui Kin-wai with lameness issues that saw the gelding undergo surgery and delayed his seasonal return.
The good looking son of Medaglia d’Oro showed obvious upside last season, placing in four of five starts and finishing second at his last three.
With barrier two in the Class Three Hawthorn Handicap (1,200m), it would appear race fitness is the only obstacle to Amazing running well.
Ferraris isn’t concerned and believes two trials and a strong gallop under Leung on Monday have his horse up to the mark.
“I’ve prepared him for this and he is ready to run a cracking race,” Ferraris said. “I’ve got him fit, and even if it looks like he will need the run I am sure he won’t disgrace himself. I thought his last trial was excellent. [Joao] Moreira rode him and he was going to ride him in this race but his other booking ended up in the same section of the Class Three.”
The “form” out of that trial got a boost when the horse that beat him home, Citron Spirit, ran a strong third in a competitive Class Two last Sunday.
Moreira’s mount Alcari looms as the likely favourite after drawing barrier one on the C + 3 and even if Amazing cannot spring an upset this time, his trainer believes the four-year-old has upside.
“He is a beautiful horse and a lovely horse to train. If I can keep him sound he is going to be a very handy horse here,” he said.
Call Me Awesome was just behind Amazing in the same trial on March 16 as he prepares to resume from a three month bleeding ban in the Class Four Green Lane Handicap (1,200m).
Even though Call Me Awesome’s sole success was over 1,650m the trainer is still positive about the five-year-old’s chances.
“He has trialled very well and he has also drawn a decent gate,” Ferraris said. “I know he has drawn a decent gate but he has shown a lot of speed. I think he can finish in the money.”
Consistent course specialist Pikachu contests the Class One Happy Valley Vase (1,800m) and General Dino looks to build on his recent form in the Class Three Holly Handicap (1,800m).
“General Dino is capable of winning in the grade but the wide draw was a blow,” Ferraris said. “But he has got some speed, so maybe he can ping out and try and get across.”