First Look

Coby Boy’s roller coaster continues but Benno Yung is confident he’s on the up again

  • The six-year-old looks ready to add to his two wins after returning in good order from yet another setback
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 November, 2018, 3:54pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 November, 2018, 6:54pm

The Hong Kong career of Coby Boy has been nothing short of a roller coaster and trainer Benno Yung Tin-pang is confident his horse is again on the way up ahead of Sunday’s Class Two Eleanor Handicap (1,400m).

There is no doubting the ability of the six-year-old, who has notched 1,400m victories at Class Two and Class Three level across six Hong Kong starts, but keeping the horse sound has been another thing.

After suffering a serious cannon bone injury soon after his debut win here at the back end of the 2016-17 season, Coby Boy missed eight months before returning with a solid campaign earlier this year.

He hit another speed bump in June, however, bleeding from both nostrils after a barrier trial and being hit with a three-month ban.

But Coby Boy again showed his ability to put his setbacks swiftly behind him, producing an impressive second behind Morethanlucky in the Class Two Yew Handicap (1,400m) just under four weeks ago.

“He’s good, I was very happy with his run first-up,” Yung said. “The last time he got a decent draw [with barrier two], this time he’s drawn barrier nine but he can still be competitive.

“He is healthy, he had that bleed after a barrier trial and we weren’t sure how he would come back but he is in good form and he is talented.”

Coby Boy finished ahead of subsequent winner Citron Spirit first-up but carries an extra 10 pounds this time out, albeit in a weaker field.

The gelding must overcome last-start winners Green Energy and Superich, who are both up in class and come in down in the weights.

Some face the crossroads at Sha Tin, but Benno Yung’s Coby Boy is only going up

Keith Yeung Ming-lun is in the saddle and knows the horse well after riding him in five of his six starts, including both wins.

Silvestre de Sousa also has a ride in the race aboard the John Size-trained Raging Storm, one of nine rides for the Brazilian as he kicks off another four-month stint.

It’s the first time De Sousa has ridden in Hong Kong since international day last year and he was here for similar winter stints the two years prior.

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He jumps straight on John Moore’s Eagle Way in Sunday’s biggest race, the Group Three Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse (1,800m).

Joining De Sousa on a short-term stay is French jockey Alexis Badel, with the pair offering much-needed reinforcement to the jockey ranks that have been understrength after a host of off-season departures.

Badel has also landed a ride in the feature, partnering Richard Gibson’s Gold Mount as it steps out for the first time this season.

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Badel rode 14 winners during his time in Hong Kong last winter, three of which were for Gibson, and has an eight-strong book for his return to Sha Tin.

In less positive news, Alvin Ng Ka-chun is set to be sidelined for between four and six weeks after scans showed the ankle he injured during trackwork late last month is fractured.