In-form galloper Ruletheroost returns to Happy Valley on Wednesday night where connections will look to build on his formidable record at the city track.
The Frankie Lor Fu-chuen-trained four-year-old has relished racing at Happy Valley this season, not missing a placing in his three starts to date, including two victories.
However, Ruletheroost will have to improve on what he has produced as he steps up in grade in the Class Three Arc De Triomphe Champions Handicap (1,800m).
Italian jockey Umberto Rispoli could hardly hide his delight in drawing barrier one for the race, which is set to give him the gun run.
“Barrier one? Beautiful,” Rispoli laughed after being told of the inside draw. “The draw helps me a lot.”
It means Ruletheroost has not drawn outside barrier four in his four Valley starts this season.
“Last time there was pace in the race so I gave him a nice time behind the speed, I wanted to give myself space to attack in the straight and the horse responded very well carrying 133 pounds,” Rispoli said of the last-start win.
“I think in Class Three he can be really competitive, Frankie is doing so well and with that weight, I think he can be competitive.”
Rispoli picked up the ride after fellow jockey Alberto Sanna was ruled out with his ongoing ankle injury.
Sanna had ridden the horse in his first eight career starts, including his maiden win in March, but it was Rispoli who took the reins last month for his slashing victory.
Ruletheroost will run into Benno Yung Tin-pang’s Cinquante Cinq, who steps up in distance for the first time in his short career.
The four-year-old is one of Yung’s best young horses and was unlucky not to win last month over 1,650m after hitting the front in the straight.
Cinquante Cinq is one of the few rising stocks in Yung’s stable and will get his chance from barrier four under jockey Matthew Chadwick after being caught wide last start jumping from barrier nine.
“I think the horse to beat is that one because I really liked him when I beat him on Rickfield,” Rispoli said.
“He was three-wide, it was not Matthew’s fault but because we went slow. I think his horse responded well and it was difficult for me to catch him.”
Ruletheroost headlines a strong book of rides for the Italian, who will also jump aboard Lor’s Flame Lily and Manfred Man Ka-leung’s Healthy Luck.
Both horses have been consistent performers this season and look close to a breakthrough victory.
Meanwhile, jockey Derek Leung Ka-chun has been cleared to ride on Wednesday night after suffering a mild concussion from a serious fall a week ago.
Leung was thrown from Gameplayer Emperor last Wednesday night during the all-weather Sha Tin meeting and subsequently stood down from Saturday’s meeting after reporting concussion symptoms.
The 30-year-old was able to pass a test on Sunday, making him available to take rides for Wednesday night.
Gameplayer Emperor was euthanised as a result of the fall, which saw him run through the running rail.
Leung has picked up five rides on the card including last-start winner Loriz, who returns after saluting at double-figure odds three weeks ago.
Young jockey Jack Wong Ho-nam has also been given the green light to return to riding after Wednesday’s meeting, with the Jockey Club’s chief medical officer passing him fit to return to trackwork on Thursday.
Wong was stood down from riding earlier this month after injuring his ankle while in the barriers.