Chad Schofield will return to the scene of his electric victory on Perfect Glory on Wednesday night after the horse shocked punters when winning first-up in Hong Kong two weeks ago.
The former Australian galloper was undefeated in New South Wales, where he won all three of his starts on the provincial circuit before making his way to Caspar Fownes’ stable at Sha Tin towards the end of last season.
While rated an $18 outsider two weeks ago on debut at Happy Valley, Schofield was able to produce a stunning ride on the four-year-old when he passed through what seemed an impossible gap with 75m to go before winning by more than a length.
Private Purchase (PP) horses who have previously raced overseas traditionally find it very difficult to win on debut in Hong Kong, with only a handful able to do it each year, adding further merit to the victory.
While Perfect Glory was able to carry 124 pounds first-up, he will be forced to carry the top weight on Wednesday night with 133 pounds in the Class Three Perfect Gear Handicap (1,200m).
The race looks to be one of the best of the night with the likes of California Archer, Smart Boy and Star Of Joy also lining up alongside another PP first-starter in Cheeky Bee.
South African jockey Grant van Niekerk will ride the Michael Freedman-trained California Archer and will be out to break his Happy Valley hoodoo.
The first-season jockey has taken all before him in Hong Kong so far, riding seven winners in his first seven weeks of the season, but is yet to cross the line first at Happy Valley.
Van Niekerk has had 43 rides for seven wins and 18 placings at Sha Tin but is stuck with just five placings from 28 starts at Happy Valley.
While the 27-year-old is not the first jockey to struggle learning the ropes at the unique track, he will be trying to break his duck there on Wednesday night when he rides Wonderful Tiger, Rickfield and The Champ in addition to California Archer.
“Happy Valley is a bit tighter and obviously they go a little bit quicker, I think if you have a horse that is pretty quick underneath you and comes brilliantly off the bends, it will help you a lot,” Van Niekerk said earlier in the season.
Fresh off his Group Two victory on one of Hong Kong’s hottest prospects Hot King Prawn, Sam Clipperton will ride all three of champion trainer John Size’s horses on Wednesday night.
Clipperton will be eager to continue making a good impression on Size with the impending return of Joao Moreira as his stable jockey set to take up the lion’s share of his rides.
After Sunday’s triumph with Hot King Prawn, Size had given Clipperton a total of 88 rides for just three wins. Such is Size’s influence on Clipperton this season, he has given him 23 of his 39 rides to date.
In-form apprentice Matthew Poon Ming-fai also looks set to outride his apprentice quota with the talented 23-year-old needing just one more to become a fully-fledged jockey.
Happy Valley has presented no problems to Poon, with half of his 10 winners to date coming at the track.
He goes to the races with a near-full book of rides as well, where he will ride last start winner Sparkling Dragon along with Glory Star, who will line up for joint championship-leading trainer Jimmy Ting Koon-ho for the first time.