Rival trainers will be trying to hunt down renowned dirt specialist Me Tsui Yu-sak at Sha Tin on Wednesday night during a rare all-weather track meeting.
Tsui has the best record in Hong Kong when it comes to racing on the dirt, with more than a quarter of his winners over the last four seasons coming on the surface.
The astute trainer, who is fresh off a treble on Sunday at Happy Valley, frequently averages around 40 wins a season and has trained 35 winners on the dirt in the past four seasons – significantly more than the overall average of 10 during that period.
Remarkably, Tsui’s strike rate more than doubled last season when his horses went onto the all-weather surface.
He had 429 runners on both grass tracks last season for a total of 25 wins at six per cent while he was able to grab 15 wins from just 98 starts on the dirt.
While Tsui will not be taking the most horses to the races on Wednesday night, history suggests he is the most likely to walk away with a winner.
Go Public heads into the Class Three Pyramid Hill Handicap (1,200m) looking to make it three wins on the trot this season, with his two prior coming on the all-weather track, while the likes of Exponents and Dashing Gainer have impressive form when moving to the dirt surface.
The Jockey Club use the Wednesday night all-weather track meetings to give the two turf surfaces at Sha Tin and Happy Valley a break as they allow the winter grass to grow through in preparation for the Longines Hong Kong International Races.
Tsui’s expertise on all-weather surfaces was shown recently when Hong Kong Class Two winner Fight Hero went to Korea to run second from a near impossible barrier 13 in the Korea Sprint (1,200m).
The next closest to Tsui’s imposing 16 per cent strike rate on the all-weather surface is that of reigning champion trainer John Size.
While Size does not take as many horses to the surface as Tsui, his strike rate is almost impressive (14 per cent), with 29 winners over the same four-season stretch as his counterpart.
His record improves further when he gives a horse its first start on the surface.
From the start of the 2007-08 season to March last year, Size had taken a horse to the all-weather track for the first time 117 times for 19 winners, 16 seconds and 14 thirds.
Size will again team up with Australian jockey Sam Clipperton for all of his five runners on Wednesday night.
With seven wins to date this season, Size is expected to make his customary charge through the trainers’ premiership standings soon, with his numbers gradually increasing each week.
Calculation will return for a second-up tilt in the Class Two Hebe Hill Handicap (1,650m), after flashing home last start over 1,200m. Size also has Raging Blitzkreig, Bond Elegance and Remarkable at the meeting.