David Ferraris struck a double at Sha Tin on Easter Monday to take his season’s tally to 25. A dozen of those wins have come at the Valley, eight in 1200m contests and four at the 1650m distance.
Showing Character (120lb) will aim to enhance the trainer’s record over the Valley’s 1200m in race three, the Kowloon Tsai Handicap. Brett Prebble has been in the plate for each of the five-year-old’s nine outings this term, including back-to-back Class 5 wins in November and December. The bay has retained his form in two starts since upped to Class 4, including a solid second behind Jumbo Happiness last time.
“I think he can measure up in Class 4,” Ferraris said. “I think his runs after his Class 5 wins have been pretty respectable and haven’t been from the best barriers. He’s a Happy Valley specialist, he’s got the draw (2) to suit tomorrow and he’s very well.
“That’s a very decent horse that beat him last time - I think he’ll just track the speed and he just quickens away, he enjoys the Valley. I’m very happy - he’s fit, he’s well, Brett knows him very well and the most important thing is the barrier, which we’ve got.”
Ferraris will attempt to click a first win this season at the minimum when Smart Declaration (125lb) takes on nine others in race six, the Class 3 King’s Park Handicap (1000m). The Exceed And Excel six-year-old is a four-time course and distance winner and is down to his lowest mark (68) in almost two years.
“He’s another typical Happy Valley specialist,” Ferraris said. “He hasn’t been the luckiest with the barriers lately but they normally get along in this five furlongs and he should be able to get in behind the speed. Brett (Prebble) knows him well and he’s also very well.”
The bay broke from gate 11 last start to run two and a half lengths fifth behind the re-opposing principals Travel Comforts (118lb including Dylan Mo’s 10lb claim) and runner-up Wayfoong Vinnie (128lb) and Ferraris has positive expectations.
“He’s fine, he’s had no hiccups and I expect a big run from him,” he added.
Fellow South African Millard, on the other hand, has limited hopes about Travel Comforts being able to repeat his latest front-running victory after a 6lb hike.
“Travel Comforts is pretty one-dimensional but last time they let him get away, I don’t think they’ll allow that happen this time, it’ll be a different story altogether. I’m hoping he can win again, maybe he can surprise us, but it’s going to be tough for him.”
Thursday’s eight-race card kicks off at 7.15pm with the Class 5 Aberdeen Handicap (2200m) and concludes with the So Kon Po Handicap at 10.50pm. The night’s trophy race is race seven, the Class 3 Hong Kong Rugby Union Cup Handicap (1200m).
Showing Character lands back-to-back victories over 1200m at Happy Valley last December, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club