Happy Valley specialist Caspar Fownes will saddle up one of his strongest teams of the season on Wednesday night but the veteran trainer knows all too well the pitfalls that can come with the city circuit.
The handler takes six horses to the track but has been struck down by the barrier gods with a host of his fancied runners drawing wide.
“On paper we have some nice runners but it is unfortunate we have some bad draws for them, however I am sure they will run well because they have been racing well without luck,” he said. “They have been getting close without joy so hopefully we can turn it around.
“I have had a couple of nights where I thought I had three or so winning chances and came away with one so it shows how tough it is, it is really tough at the moment.
“We have some chances that’s for sure. Hopefully we can snag a couple, we need to get lucky because of how tough it is, you need some good rides with no problems in the run.
“As long as they are ridden well and given their chance I don’t mind. If you get beat, you get beat but it’s not much fun when you lose races you should win.”
Of his runners, the Aaron Kwok Fu-shing-owned Dancing Fighter will create the most interest with the Hong Kong celebrity set to be on track for the race.
“When we spoke on Sunday he said he was coming but we will see, things are changing very quickly in Hong Kong at the moment,” Fownes said.
As one of Hong Kong’s biggest stars, Kwok has attracted huge fanfare at both Sha Tin and Happy Valley but his horse hasn’t run since crowds were locked out due to the spread of the coronavirus.
His last appearance was on International Jockeys’ Championship night in December where his four-year-old managed to salute.
Since then, Fownes has taken a cautious approach with the lightly raced speedster, who has three wins and three second placings in his six career starts.
“He has had a little niggling proximal suspensory problem, he has been racing really well so we have to take our time with him,” he said.
“He looks ready to come to the races after the trial he put in a couple of weeks ago and he’s had a nice gallop on the grass since which was good, he looks well.
“However, we are not helped with gate nine because I don’t want to go hard from the gate, I’d rather give him his chance to find a spot rather than go hard and see it all come undone.
“I’d rather see him running on and getting beaten over having no chance going hard with the big weight.”
Fownes will also saddle up Naboo Star in the Class Three Po Chong Wan Handicap (1,650m), who was a nightmare watch for punters last start.
The improving five-year-old got caught in heavy traffic and never had a chance as a $3.20 favourite.
“It was hard because I didn’t want him on the inside, I thought he was the best horse so just get out and get room, he gives a better kick that way,” he said.
“He has drawn wide, which helps, but we have had to bring him back a furlong which is not ideal because I wanted to go the other way, start to stretch his distance.”
Fownes will also saddle up Galaxy Racer, Nunchucks, Super Lucky and Green Reign.
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