Understated trainer Me Tsui Yu-sak’s consistent galloper Telecom Brothers is out to prove himself in Class Two company at Happy Valley on Wednesday night as he looks to build on his impressive Hong Kong career.
The four-year-old took many by surprise by winning three races on the trot earlier this season in Class Three company under young apprentice Victor Wong Chun, before putting in a disappointing performance earlier this month when stepping up in grade for the first time.
The Australian import had a tough time in front after getting caught in a speed battle which saw him fade out in the straight as John Size’s proven galloper Country Star went on to win.
The two horses are leading hopes for the Hong Kong Airlines Million Challenge, which is due to wrap up in two weeks.
Country Star sits atop the table with 51 points, two ahead of stablemate Red Warrior – who will also compete on Wednesday night – and Telecom Brothers.
If Telecom Brothers can prevail in the Class Two Chater Handicap (1,200m), where he will get all the favours from barrier one, he will be in the box seat to win his connections the HK$650,000 first prize on February 13, should other results go his way.
Tsui has previously expressed his desire to pick up the bonus for his owners.
“I hope we can win the Million Challenge,” Tsui said. “He’s quite an honest horse. I went for the 1,200m so he doesn’t need to rush too much on the early speed because the 1,000m is a little bit faster than 1,200m and he’s not quick enough to lead in the 1,000m.”
Telecom Brothers was bought out of Australia after winning at Canterbury following a number of placings as a two-year-old.
Often considered a specialist on the Sha Tin all-weather surface, Tsui has excelled at Happy Valley this year, picking up more winners than any other trainer.
The former jockey has 13 winners at the city track, ahead of the likes of big-name trainers Size, Caspar Fownes, Jimmy Ting Koon-ho (all 12), and Tony Cruz (10).
Tsui’s 24 winners in total this season see him tied for sixth in the trainers’ championship, within striking distance of the likes of John Moore and Frankie Lor Fu-chuen.
Only Cruz has saddled up more runners than Tsui this season but that is set to change on Wednesday, with the 58-year-old taking seven horses to the races.
His two-time winner Sky Treasure will step out for the first time this season after suffering a setback with a leg injury in October.
While both of his career wins have come on the all-weather surface, the five-year-old appears to be in form after a strong barrier trial last week.