Winners have been hard to come by for David Ferraris in recent years – a key reason for his impromptu departure – but the circumstances of Wednesday night’s meeting give him a chance to go out on a positive note.
Since the start of 2019-20, the majority of the South African’s victories have come at Happy Valley – 32 of the 42 to be exact – and he gets one last opportunity to add to that tally before officially handing in his licence later this week.
Ferraris will saddle up the final five runners of his Hong Kong career, which has spanned more than 18 seasons and produced 460 winners, on Wednesday night and two of them – Here Comes Ted and Stoicism – look to have strong hopes. The key for them are their draws, both faring well for their respective assignments.
All four of Ferraris’ winners this season have come at the iconic city circuit and they have all jumped from the inside five barriers – both Here Comes Ted and Stoicism tick those boxes.
Here Comes Ted has been building towards a win – he’s placed in his two most recent outings – and has the inside alley for the second section of the Class Three Java Handicap (1,200m).
The other huge positive is the booking of Joao Moreira, who has a solid winning strike-rate of 16.9 per cent (12 from 71) over his career at Happy Valley riding for Ferraris. The combination has four wins and five placings from their 14 most recent starts.
Here Comes Ted has flashed home after settling near the tail of the field in his past two starts and should be able to position up a little closer in running before Moreira hunts for an inside run at the top of the straight when the field fans out with the rail in the C+3 position.
The biggest dangers look to be those at the top of the weights – Family Folks, Winning Method and Diamond Brilliant – while Excellent Chariot also has to be respected.
Stoicism will be Ferraris’ final runner in the jurisdiction when he steps out in the last race of the night, the first section of the Class Three Java Handicap (1,200m).
The Irish import is yet to salute in his 10 Hong Kong starts to date but he is rarely far away and if he doesn’t break through here, it shouldn’t take him too long to do so in his new stable.
Stoicism was only beaten by three-quarters of a length first-up before hitting the line nicely after coming from last when sixth in his most recent outing.
The four-year-old son of Dandy Man has since enjoyed a little freshen-up before tuning up for this contest by winning a trial on the Sha Tin turf last week.
Like his stablemate, Stoicism won’t have to get that far back this time around as Alexis Badel should find a nice position from barrier three.
Stoicism’s main challengers come in the form of Flaming Passion, Seizing The Moment, Colonel and Wood On Fire, while class-droppers Igniting and Loving A Boom also have to be kept safe.
You can make an each-way case for Ferraris’ three other runners on the night as well – Charizard is a last-start winner but has an awkward draw, Xiang Bai Qi has been close enough but might be on his mark and Nitro Express is competing at his favourite course and distance but at 10-years-old is getting a bit long in the tooth.