Danny Shum Chap-shing believes he may have found the key to unlocking Irish import Amazing One Plus as the five-year-old prepares for his second Happy Valley start on Wednesday night.
After running fifth in the Epsom Derby and winning twice at Group Three level when under the care of Dermot Weld, Amazing One Plus produced a huge run to finish second in his Hong Kong debut at Class One level after being sent out at $201.
But the son of Shamardal, who raced as Hazapour pre-import, suffered a fetlock injury soon after and produced two poor Sha Tin runs when returning this season, before showing vast improvement when third at the city circuit a fortnight ago.
“When he came to Hong Kong, after quarantine the first day he was lame. It took a long time for him to recover,” Shum said.
“The Valley is suitable because the ground is not too hard – at Sha Tin the ground is too hard for him at the moment.
“Later on hopefully he can handle it, but I’ll run him at Happy Valley for now. He hit the line very well last time so if he can sit midfield, he can finish off strongly again.”
After impressing over the extended Valley mile, Amazing One Plus steps to 1,800m for the Class Two Time Warp Handicap and will jump from gate eight under Derek Leung Ka-chun.
The gelding saluted at a mile and 2,000m in Ireland – as well as placing twice at 1,800m – and Shum hopes he will soon see the best of his charge after he flew home from last to finish a head behind victor Buddies last time out.
“If he stays sound he has really good potential, he’s got great form in the UK,” Shum said. “He went very, very close last time and hopefully Derek can put him in midfield and he can finish off.”
Leung partners Amazing One Plus for the third time, with Shum putting his faith in the jockey despite significant interest in the mount.
“A few jockeys asked me but I’m sticking with Derek. I don’t want to penalise the jockey when they do the right thing,” he said.
Amazing One Plus is one of a host of in-form runners in the race, with Tianchi Monster headlining the challengers after a strong start to the season.
The Chris So Wai-yin-trained six-year-old returns to Happy Valley after a Class Three win and a Class Two second at Sha Tin in recent weeks, with his three previous runs at the course and distance returning a second, a third and a 12th.
Columbus County makes his seasonal debut after saluting at his final start of 2019-20, with the Caspar Fownes-trained five-year-old – who finished ninth in this year’s Hong Kong Derby – jumping from gate one under Joao Moreira.
Amazing One Plus is one of six runners for Shum at the midweek meeting as he looks to carry on his good form after a double at Sha Tin on Saturday, with the handler also saddling up President Star, Hot Chili Pepper, Regency Bo Bo, Regency Master and Harmony N Home.