David Ferraris believes his improved galloper Bear Again can bounce back and win at Happy Valley on Wednesday night after he fell victim to a lightning-quick pace last start.
The South African import sprang to life earlier this season when he won comfortably by four lengths but then was beaten as an odds-on favourite next start after Solar Wai Wai broke a long-standing Class Three record at Happy Valley.
“I think that the pace was just way too fast, they broke a record which had stood for a dozen years, that’s probably the reason why [he didn’t win],” he said.
“Having said that, he is not an easy horse to ride because he is very keen and wants to get on with the job.”
While Alexis Badel rode the five-year-old in his two previous starts, connections have turned to Joao Moreira for the Class Three Russell Handicap (1,650m).
With other on-speed gallopers in the race like Magnificent and Smart Leader, Ferraris is wary of the potential of a repeat of his last start.
“If he gets a lead and is not bothered up front, he will go close, but of course if he gets softened up again it will be a different story,” he said.
“I don’t think he needs his own way, I think Joao can slide in behind them if something else wants to lead, it’s no problem, he just isn’t as effective.”
After arriving on a rating of 80, Bear Again finished no better than seventh in seven starts last season but has shown career-best form this season after putting a disappointing first-up performance behind him.
“These horses come here with top of Class Three ratings and it’s difficult to win, they need to drop a good few pounds before they are ready, by then they are acclimatised,” he said.
“His form is good and he has no problems at all – it is the pace of the race which will sort it out.”
Ferraris also brings Gouten Of Garo, Methane, Supreme Patrol and Seventh Sea to the races as he looks to build on his solid season.
With 14 winners under his belt, he is well on track to better last season’s total of 21.
“I am very happy, especially with my old horses – it is nice to keep them going, I have a stable of a lot of old horses so we have to do the best we can,” he said.
Meanwhile, recent Chinese border closures announced by the Hong Kong government in response to the coronavirus are not expected to have a negative effect on horse transport between Sha Tin and Conghua in the mainland.
“The transportation of racehorses between Sha Tin racecourse and the Conghua racecourse will continue as scheduled,” Jockey Club executive director of racing Andrew Harding said.
“Horse transportation is treated as cargo shipment and will not be affected. Horse transportation in vehicles with preregistered accompanying staff will continue to cross the border via the Huanggang Port.
“Stable staff who are required to travel to and back from Conghua racecourse will cross the border via Shenzhen Bay.”