Popular trainer Michael Chang Chun-wai will take three “Harbour” horses to the races on Wednesday night but each has a very different background.
Harbour Century, Harbour Alert and Grand Harbour all line up at the uninspiring all-weather track meeting at Sha Tin with Chang hoping to cash in on a couple of stable changes.
Chang only recently received Harbour Century and Harbour Alert after owner Tony Chan Chi-ming elected to move them from rival trainer Tony Millard’s yard while Grand Harbour has been a long time campaigner for the 57-year-old.
Harbour Century is only a lightly raced four-year-old while Harbour Alert has been around the block, currently in the midst of his fifth Hong Kong season and fourth trainer.
While many Hong Kong owners have long-held traditions and like to see their horses running on certain days in search of good luck, Chang said it was just a coincidence to have the three horses running on the same night.
“It’s just the way it ended up,” Chang laughed.
“Grand Harbour has a different owner [to Harbour Alert and Harbour Century], but it is still funny they are all together.”
Harbour Century will have his first start for Chang in the Class Four Mei Tin Handicap (1,200m) while Harbour Alert is beginning to find his feet in his new stable, having his third start in the Class Three Hin Yiu Handicap (1,200m).
Both horses appear to have relished the change in environment, trialling well for their new trainer.
“I got two of them off Tony Millard, the owner just made the decision to move them, it is just the style in Hong Kong,” Chang said.
“I think both horses trialled well and the distances will suit them because they go on the dirt well too.”
Sitting at the bottom of the trainers’ championship, Chang could do with a winner, but history suggests it will be a challenge after managing just one victory on the all-weather surface this season.
Meanwhile, jockey Karis Teetan is hoping a return to the dirt helps speedy three-year-old Coby Oppa, who recorded a scintillating win on the surface two starts ago.
After copping an 11-point ratings bump for his easy three-length win, Lor opted to take his son of The Factor to Happy Valley for the first time where he ran a gallant fourth.
“He has a dirt pedigree so he does handle it pretty well,” Teetan said.
“Going back onto it now, he will get his chance from the good draw.”