Poised to partner Duke Wai on the international stage this weekend, Jerry Chau hopes to lay a winning platform for Dubai World Cup night by partnering Gorytus to success in the Class 2 Arbuthnot Handicap (1650m) at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
Chau, 22, will pit his wares against elite competition on Saturday night at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai in Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint (1200m), where he will face crack sprinters from around the globe, including Ireland’s Al Dasim, England’s Al Suhail and fellow Hong Kong speedster Sight Success.
“I’m really excited, it’s like a dream come true,” Chau said of the Duke Wai appointment. “I’m really grateful to get the opportunity. Hopefully we can get a good result.”
More immediately, Chau will chase his 17th win of the campaign aboard last-start Happy Valley winner Gorytus.
“He responded really well in the straight and after last race he has improved,” Chau said of the Danny Shum-trained gelding. “Going to Class 2, he has a lighter weight than last time. Hopefully this time, he can relax and he can settle so barrier nine is good for him.
“When he settles, he has a good turn of foot.”
Having shouldered 133lb to victory over the same course and distance on 8 February, Gorytus will carry 124lb tomorrow night, allowing for Chau’s 2-lb claim.
David Hayes also harbours hopes of successive wins for Allgreektome when then lightly-raced gelding steps up in grade when contesting the Class 3 Hollywood Handicap (1200m) under Vincent Ho.
“Last start he was really strong on the line and he’s starting to do things correctly now,” Hayes said. “He’s just got a bit of an awkward gate, but he’s does have wonderful gate speed – I don’t think we’ll change much. If he’s not leading, he’ll be in the first three.
“The progressive horses who go up in grade and are down in weight are pretty hard to beat.”
Allgreektome will carry 120lb against seasoned opposition on Wednesday, having blitzed Class 4 company with 131lb on 22 February.
Hayes said Mr Brightside, winner of last Saturday’s All-Star Mile (1600m) at Moonee Valley under Luke Currie, could be aimed at the Hong Kong International Races in December pending his performance in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick Racecourse on 1 April.
Trained by Hayes’ sons, Ben and JD, Mr Brightside could be set for the Group 1 Hong Kong Mile (1600m).
“We were especially thrilled for Luke Currie and the boys are going to try to defend his title in the Doncaster and they’re going to target the Hong Kong International Races in December, so it would be nice to see him up here hopefully,” Hayes said.
Angus Chung will attempt to build on recent momentum when he teams with Atomic Energy in the Class 4 Elgin Handicap (1000m) for Tony Cruz after the apprentice’s claim was reduced from 10lb to 7lb after landing his 20th Hong Kong winner on Sunday (19 March) aboard Top Top Tea.
Chung, 26, is keen to improve his record at Happy Valley, where he has one win and 15 placings from 81 rides compared with 19 victories and 36 placings from 178 mounts at Sha Tin.
“It’s been frustrating at Happy Valley,” Chung said, explaining that he has been working with former champion jockey Felix Coetzee to gain a better understanding of the city circuit’s contours.
“Losing the 10-lb claim is a new challenge for me. I have to learn more to adapt to losing that claim.”