Determined to secure a LONGINES International Jockeys` Championship (IJC) berth next month, Vincent Ho hopes quality stayer Straight Arron can continue his emergence in the HK$5.35 million G2 BOCHK Jockey Club Cup (2000m) at Sha Tin on Sunday (19 November).
With only two meetings left until the LONGINES IJC line-up is completed after next Wednesday`s (22 November) fixture, Ho (10 wins) leads Matthew Chadwick (7) in the battle for the IJC position reserved for Hong Kong`s leading homegrown rider, excluding apprentices.
Ho made a triumphant return from suspension at Happy Valley on 15 November and hopes Straight Arron can continue the momentum when Caspar Fownes` young stayer tackles Hong Kong Champion Stayer Russian Emperor (128lb), Senor Toba (123lb), Money Catcher (123lb), Five G Patch (123lb), Glorious Dragon (123lb), Sword Point (123lb), La City Blanche (123lb) and Nimble Nimbus (123lb).
“Straight Arron is going very well. We were happy with his trial - 2000 (metres) is his distance and we are confident in him,” Ho said.
“Last year, he was still a little bit immature but he kept coming. He should now be pretty fit and we can hopefully do well on Sunday - of course it`s a tough race - but then we can look forward to the internationals.
“I hope he can be competitive being more mature and also 2000 (metres) being his distance. He`s a nice horse.”
The first of the weekend`s black type contests is the HK$5.35 million G2 BOCHK Private Banking Jockey Club Sprint (1200m), which features Lucky Sweynesse (128lb), Wellington (128lb), Sight Success (123lb), Duke Wai (123lb), Super Wealthy (123lb), Victor The Winner (123lb) and Fantastic Treasure (123lb).
The HK$5.35 million G2 BOCHK Private Wealth Jockey Club Mile (1600m) also features on Sunday (19 November), when California Spangle (128lb), Beauty Joy (123lb), Healthy Happy (123lb), Voyage Bubble (123lb) and Beauty Eternal (123lb) clash.
Karis Teetan, who partners Victor The Winner and La City Blanche in two of the Group 2 contests, also takes the ride on Romantic Hero in the Class 4 BOCHK Cross-border Services Handicap (1200m) and hopes the debutant can acquit himself well.
Trained by Danny Shum and raced in the same interests as G1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m) winner Romantic Warrior, Romantic Hero has had five trials this season including a third to Beauty Eternal and Duke Wai over 1200m on Sha Tin`s dirt on 10 November.
“He`s showed a bit of quality in his trials, I think he`s in good shape to go to the races,” Teetan said. “He`s got a beautiful action and now we go to the races and hopefully he`ll have a good performance.
“It`s a big task to fill Romantic Warrior`s shoes, but we think he`s a smart horse and it`s still his first time, so it`s going to be an experience, but we`re hoping he goes out and he runs well.”
Sunday`s (19 November) Bank of China (Hong Kong) Race Day features 11 races, starting with the Class 4 BOCHK Cross-border Services Handicap (1200m) at 12.30pm.