Douglas Whyte is determined not to “ruin a good recipe” with impressive four-year-old Dragon’s Luck, but there will be one new ingredient thrown into the mix for Saturday’s Class Three Tak Ku Ling Handicap (1,200m).
Dragon’s Luck has won three of his four career starts and each time he has headed to the gates, it has been Lyle Hewitson in the saddle. However, with the South African young gun suspended, Whyte has turned to star Australian Hugh Bowman for his progressive galloper’s fifth appearance.
Dragon’s Luck will also jump from gate 11 and carry more weight than ever before – the maximum impost of 135 pounds – but Whyte confirmed that will not be cause for a change to the approach that has served the gelding so well in all three of his victories.
“At the moment, he’s doing things correctly from the front. He’s enjoying it,” Whyte said. “I think just on pure ability he’s been able to get out and dictate. I don’t think he’s one dimensional. He doesn’t indicate that at trackwork. But why ruin a good recipe?”
Bowman and Dragon’s Luck will not be complete strangers this weekend, with the jockey piloting the son of Sooboog to a recent all-weather trial victory that gives Whyte cause for optimism.
“I gave him a slight freshen up, hence the reason he trialled last week. Hugh was very complimentary of him. He had a bit of a blow in the trial, but he’s back on track,” Whyte said.
“Weight stops trains. There’s always a concern when you creep up to the top of the handicaps. There’s other things to contend with than the weight, but it’s a concern.”
Whyte also saddles up Show Respect, who was supposed to be the first Hong Kong runner for Yulong’s Zhang Yuesheng early last month but for being scratched at the barriers.
“He’s probably not ready just yet. He’s only just turned three. He’s had a good, sound preparation. It was a bit upsetting he got his leg over the barriers in his first race and it’s taken a bit of time to get him back to the races,” Whyte said.
“Going forward, he’s a lovely horse. He’s grown. He’s really furnished. But it’d be very surprising if he won on the weekend. Whatever he does, he’s going to improve.”
Dragon’s Luck is not the only smart up-and-comer punters expect to turn heads on Saturday, with the Jamie Richards-trained Laser Victory likely to start a firm favourite as he looks to make it two wins from as many starts in the Class Four Junction Handicap (1,200m).
“It was a good win. He drew a bad barrier and had to go forward. It’s always difficult for a young horse to quicken up twice in a race like that,” Richards said of Laser Victory’s debut success under Zac Purton.
“Zac said he probably peaked on his run a little bit, but I think the race day experience will help him and he’s had a little while between runs and a trial. Everything’s in order.
“He’s only a three-year-old. Hopefully, he’s still got points in hand. He’s certainly gone the right way since his first-up win.”