Championship-leading trainer Ricky Yiu Poon-fai jokes that if his known head case King’s Trooper raced in barrier trials for a living, he would win every one.
The four-year-old has been hard to catch for punters, promising plenty and delivering little, but Yiu believes he may have cracked the code for the horse.
After taking a handy position outside the leader last start, Yiu said he wants King’s Trooper to settle among horses midfield and save himself for a late charge at the winning post – similar to his first-up win this season.
“When he won, the jockey put him midfield, fourth or fifth, but last time he was second and settling outside of the leader and just was not enjoying it at all,” he said.
“You can see from the stewards’ report, I said he had to have good cover a bit back in the field to let him find his feet. When things don’t go his way like his last start, he just won’t finish.
“He is a bit crazy in the head. He tries very hard in the mornings – in the trials he wins everything but in the race, he doesn’t do that.”
King’s Trooper is back for another crack on Wednesday night in the Class Four Jedburgh Handicap (1,200m) where he looks set to get every opportunity from barrier three.
With things going pear-shaped last start, Yiu was frank when asked what his advice to leading jockey Joao Moreira would be come Wednesday night.
“I don’t need to say too much to Joao this time, I am sure we have all learned the lessons, it is there in the stewards’ report,” he said.
King’s Trooper, who carries 130 pounds, will line-up against the likes of Jolly Convergence, Split Of A Second, Little Thunder and Mehboob.
It is one of eight rides for Moreira on the night, who currently sits on top of the jockeys’ championship after missing the last two meetings through suspension.
Moreira was a tearaway leader in the race to the title but has had his lead cut back to three by Zac Purton, who reeled off four winners while the Brazilian was absent.
In a swings and roundabouts moment however, Purton now finds himself on the sidelines with a suspension, giving Moreira the opportunity to again kick clear before next week’s International Jockeys’ Championship meeting, which will feature the likes of Frankie Dettori, Oisin Murphy, James McDonald, Ryan Moore and Pierre-Charles Boudot.
Purton joins five other Hong Kong-licensed riders – Grant van Niekerk, Derek Leung Ka-chun, Alfred Chan Ka-hei, Karis Teetan and Keith Yeung Ming-lun – who are sidelined with bans on Wednesday night.
But Silvestre de Sousa will return after missing Saturday’s Sha Tin meeting due to a commitment to ride in Bahrain last Friday night.
While the popular jockey could only finish midfield in the rich Bahrain International Trophy on $4 chance Pivoine, he comes to Happy Valley with rides in eight of the nine races.
In an indication of his standing among trainers, local jockey Vincent Ho Chak-yiu is the only rider other than Moreira to have a full book on the night.
He currently has 16 wins for the season, just three behind the third-placed Teetan.