A switch to the dirt helped Mongolian Legend secure his maiden Hong Kong victory last start and jockey Keith Yeung Ming-lun is confident he can go on with it in the Class Three Kam Tsin Handicap (1,650m) at Sha Tin on Saturday.
The Me Tsui Yu-sak-trained five-year-old relished the move to the all-weather track, rediscovering the sort of form that saw him win five races in New Zealand before arriving in the territory.
“Yes, he enjoys the surface a lot. We noticed that when we worked him in the morning and his action is way better on that compared to the turf,” Yeung said.
“I wasn’t expecting him to win his first one on the dirt and he never showed too much in the mornings but I was expecting him to run a race.”
Mongolian Legend only goes up five ratings points for the narrow win, which leaves him in the middle of Class Three. He has drawn barrier eight and Yeung believes he can be in the finish again.
“He doesn’t give you a strong kick but is the type of horse than can just keep on rolling, you just need to give him confidence during the race and then he will finish off nicely,” he said.
“I can’t be more happy with the horse, he has improved since his last run and he now feels better than last time so I am hoping for his second win.”
Another horse creating interest on Saturday is Dennis Yip Chor-hong’s debutant Iron King.
The three-year-old has shown a bit in his barrier trials and he kicks off his career in the Class Four Yin Kong Handicap (1,000m).
Umberto Rispoli takes the reins from barrier five and the Italian is hopeful Iron King can make his presence felt.
“He’s a very nice little horse, he has been training for a long time now,” Rispoli said. “He is a horse that in the first trial, he showed something nice then he was a bit keen in the second trial on the dirt and the third we decided to sit him behind other horses to teach him something and he finished off really well.
“He is not difficult to control but he likes to be on the speed, so if you try to send him out of the gates, he can be keen and he can race for 600-700m and then he will stop.
“The perfect race for him is going to be a good speed, the 1,000m races always have a pretty good speed. It is his first time but I think he can run well.
“With the high expectations I have, I think he can win but a few horses in the race have had good starts and Meridian Genius I think is the most dangerous one, even running after just six days.”