Jockey Keith Yeung Ming-lun only has two winners in 2021 but he’s hoping Natural Storm can help boost that number at Sha Tin on Saturday.
Ricky Yiu Poon-fai’s four-year-old caught the eye with a slashing fourth last start and he lines up in the Class Three Needle Hill Handicap (2,000m).
After coming up with wide barriers in his past four runs, Natural Storm has drawn barrier five and Yeung is optimistic that will help his chances.
“Last time we had an awkward barrier draw so we had to take him back. This time we have a better barrier so I hope we can be closer,” Yeung said.
“I think the light weight [118 pounds] really helps. He’s fitter than last time, so I think he’ll run a better race than last time.”
It looks to be an open race with only one last-start winner in the Manfred Man Ka-leung-trained Enzemble, who has drawn barrier 12.
The Irish six-year-old led all the way to salute at $58 last month and Matthew Poon Ming-fai is likely to set the pace again.
Douglas Whyte’s Vincy is poised to settle just behind Enzemble, looking to turn the tables after finishing third to him last start.
The Tony Millard-prepared Above split them on that occasion and he is also there again, with Antoine Hamelin set to find a good position from barrier four.
It looks the most open race on the day as a case can be made for every runner.
Yeung has eight rides on the 10-race card and Natural Storm is his best hope but the 33-year-old doesn’t worry about his recent lack of winners.
He’s locked in for another season as a jockey in 2021-21 but is hoping to transition to life as an assistant trainer after that.
Yeung has eight winners and 30 placings from 425 rides this campaign and while it matches his output from last season, he is realistic about where he sits in the pecking order.
“It happens, I just keep my head down and keep working,” he said. “I don’t worry about my results, I just go out there, do all my preparation, keep my fitness and do my best.”
Yeung’s other hope on the card is Fearless Fire, who takes part in the Class Three Mount Cameron Handicap (1,200m).
David Hayes’ seven-year-old has collected three wins in a fruitful campaign and comes into this contest after a third to Master Eight earlier this month.
He has drawn barrier eight in a competitive event that also features the likes of Drop Of God, Storm Warnings and War Of Courage.