He spoiled the party of a pair of more fancied horses last time out at Happy Valley and trainer Ricky Yiu Poon-fai is confident Flat Heaven can carry his form to Sha Tin for Sunday’s Class Two Ambitious Dragon Handicap (1,200m).
After upstaging smart youngsters Country Star and Music Addition – both of whom were chasing a hat-trick of wins – to salute at $48, Flat Heaven meets another star on the rise this weekend in the John Size-trained Full Of Beauty.
“He went really well when he won his last start, it was only his second start. I don’t think it will make much of a difference to run him at Sha Tin or Happy Valley, he tries very hard,” Yiu said.
“They put him up seven in the ratings and obviously he is going to meet some good horses in his future but in saying that, he will still do his job and he will be competitive.”
Flat Heaven won three times from nine attempts in France before making the move to Hong Kong, including at Listed level over 1,200m at Deauville.
After finishing eighth in his Hong Kong debut at the top of a 60-85 rated Class Three, the four-year-old stepped into Class Two and relished the light weight, with Yiu saying the fact he was fresh helped him win last time and will also work in his favour on Sunday.
“He has adapted really well in Hong Kong even though he’s only been here for a few months, it’s not easy for a European,” Yiu said.
“There is a lot yet to see, he still has upside to find out. He’s a fresh horse and he’s handy, I like him. I think he will run another good race.
“Without having seen him run at Sha Tin, when he won, the last 200m he really accelerated so he will run a good race.”
Whether he can match Full Of Beauty is another question, who has raced from Class Four into Class Two with four straight victories to start his career and doesn’t look like slowing down just yet.
Matthew Poon Ming-fai keeps the ride on Flat Heaven after winning on him at his first attempt and the pair will jump from barrier one.
Flat Heaven is one of six entries for Yiu on BMW Hong Kong Derby day and, although he doesn’t have a runner in the main event, the 61-year-old is looking forward to the occasion.
“It’s a big day for everyone and the owners will love to come and watch,” he said.
Yiu has a runner in the day’s other Class Two, the Rapper Dragon Handicap (1,400m), with Preciousship taking on the likes of King Opie and Tornado Twist.
Chad Schofield rides the four-year-old for the first time and will be looking to extract some improvement from the horse, who ran at Group level in Ireland but is yet to set the world alight in Hong Kong.
However, he did finish within two-and-three-quarter lengths of Derby favourite Waikuku over 1,400m last time out and will be in the mix from barrier three.