Matthew Chadwick hopes a recent third-place finish aboard in-form galloper Telecom Fighters will hold them in good stead when they tackle the big guns of Hong Kong’s all-weather ranks in the Class Two Hebe Hill Handicap (1,650m) at Sha Tin on Wednesday night.
Telecom Fighters travelled one-out, one-back when finishing behind smart duo Californiadeepshot and Mister Snowdon over 1,400m on the Sha Tin turf first-up this season before reverting to his customary lead role when saluting by three and a quarter lengths under Joao Moreira over the extended Happy Valley mile earlier this month.
All four of Telecom Fighter’s victories have come in races he has led but the Me Tsui Yu-sak-trained five-year-old is unlikely to get it all his own way in front against Hongkong Great (Zac Purton) and Kings Shield (Derek Leung Ka-chun) from gate seven at the all-dirt fixture.
“His gate is a bit awkward and Hongkong Great and Kings Shield have a bit of pace so it will be interesting to see what they decide to do,” Chadwick said.
“Obviously Zac will probably want to lead, you would like to think Derek would take a sit behind him and I can get a comfortable run somewhere around there.
“Hopefully he’s learned from that first-up run because if the other two try to force the issue in front we might have to be relegated back to second or third position in the run and his wins have always been from leading, so we will just have to wait and see how that pans out.”
Telecom Fighters is at his best over the Valley 1,650m, with four wins at the course and distance from his past eight starts, but he held his own when seventh in a dirt trial last month.
“He trialled OK on the dirt, his form looks well and he just has to transfer it to the dirt. The horse is in the grade for a reason, he’s an honest horse who knows his job,” Chadwick said.
“Last time I rode him we took a sit, he seemed to battle on OK but he wasn’t 100 per cent then so hopefully this time he’ll be full fitness.”
Chadwick looks to have a handful of competitive rides among his seven-strong book and is hopeful Party Everyday can return to the winner’s list despite drawing barrier 11 for the Class Four Tiu Yue Yung Handicap (1,800m).
“Party Everyday is a difficult one, he never gives the rider a hand and he’s a bit of a handful. The pace looks a bit awkward and the gate is not very kind,” Chadwick said.
“Ideally he’d like to sit where he’s comfortable with a bit of cover but we’ll just have to see where he lands and hopefully he doesn’t want to take us too far off the track. Apart from that, we know he likes the dirt and he seems to always perform on the dirt, so hopefully it’s his turn.”
Chadwick also rides Dragon Kingdom, Happy Jai Jai, Fortune Happiness, Handsome Rebel and Super Win Dragon as he looks to add to his eight winners so far this season.