Matthew Chadwick returns from suspension at Happy Valley on Wednesday night with a book of seven rides that he’s hopeful can help him add to his 28 winners so far this campaign.
That haul has him sitting sixth in the jockeys’ premiership – only two winners behind fourth-placed Alexis Badel – and one of his better associations this season has come with the Ricky Yiu Poon-fai-trained Darci Joy.
Chadwick has partnered the four-year-old to consecutive victories over 1,800m at Sha Tin, and while he admits a shift to the Valley for the Class Three Hong Tung Handicap (1,800m) came as somewhat of a surprise, he’s looking forward to seeing how his charge handles the change up.
“It’s going to be interesting. I actually thought he was going to run last week over the Sha Tin 1,800m but they must have had a change of plans,” he said.
Darci Joy proves far too good under @mattLchadwixk for trainer Ricky Yiu! #HKracing pic.twitter.com/4sMCGQYYf6— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) January 1, 2022
“The horse has done everything that has been asked of him but his first time at the Valley is a bit of a question mark.”
After a best finish of fifth from five runs during his debut season saw Darci Joy drop to a mark of 44 entering this term, the son of Darci Brahma has produced three wins and three placings from seven starts in 2021-22 to climb 19 points in the ratings and into Class Three for the first time.
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“Gate nine will be interesting, we will have to see where we can find a position for him and see if we can kick on again,” Chadwick said. “His last start was a gutsy performance and I’m happy with him.”
After piloting him to two wins earlier this season, Chadwick reunites with Flaming Passion in the Class Three Hing Wah Handicap (1,200m) after Frankie Lor Fu-chuen’s galloper finished second at the course and distance under Karis Teetan last start.
Flaming Passion goes back-to-back and just like that Frankie Lor has a double! He leads the trainers' championship on 23 wins. @FCLOR_RACING ✌️ #HappyWednesday #HKracing pic.twitter.com/92SIUtEKh2— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) November 24, 2021
“He’s drawn a bit awkwardly as well [in nine] and the pace of the races at the Valley has been interesting recently so we will just have to see where he can position,” Chadwick said.
“He seems to be better with a bit of cover but we might not have much of an option from that gate, so we will just have to see what we can come up with.”
Chadwick is bullish about the chances of the Michael Chang Chun-wai-trained One Step Ahead in the Class Five Yiu Tung Handicap (1,200m) after steering the galloper to a win and three placings from his past four starts.
One Step Ahead darts through for @mattLchadwixk & Michael Chang! #HappyWednesday #HKracing pic.twitter.com/sxnkmbs1Zd— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) November 17, 2021
“He’s always been a consistent horse. He is what he is and he always seems to do his best work late when he’s given a chance. Unfortunately in Class Five you could run the same race 10 times and you would probably get a different winner 10 times,” Chadwick said.
“But he’s been racing really well and you have got to go in with a bit of confidence when they’re racing that way, whether it’s Class Five or not, and I’m sure Michael has the horse well, so there’s no reason not to be positive,” he said.
Chadwick also rides Triple Triple for Lor, as well as the Me Tsui Yu-sak-trained Super Axiom, Manfred Man Ka-leung’s Happy Sharing and the Paul O’Sullivan-trained August Moon.