In the throes of a superb debut season, Pierre Ng hopes Marado can lay the foundations for a successful Hong Kong International Races (HKIR) campaign for the freshman stable on 11 December when the gelding contests the Class 4 Mody Handicap (1400m) at Sha Tin on Sunday (December 4).
With 11 wins and 34 minor placings from 120 starters this term, 39-year-old Ng has made a bright start to his training career and is delighted to have secured starts for Lucky Patch and Duke Wai in the HK$24 million Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) next week.
Before saddling his first Group 1 starters, Ng will bid to add further lustre to his 2022/23 campaign with last-start course and distance winner Marado (134lb), who is again partnered by Zac Purton.
“I'm very pleased with his form, with what he did last start – it was a pretty brave win. This time, he's drawn 12 and should run well again,” Ng said. “We have to be positive on him again, let him travel, let him breathe – and fight in the straight.”
Ng cautiously monitored the performances of LONGINES HKIR contenders Lucky Patch and Duke Wai in a 1200m dirt trial on Friday (December 2), opting not to read anything significant into outwardly modest hit-outs.
Lucky Patch was checked before finishing 10th behind Gallant Waking, while Duke Wai appeared to resent the kick back and tailed the field throughout to cross in 11th in 1m 09.38s.
“I'm just okay with Lucky Patch's trial this morning. When he went around the turn, he got into a squeeze and got a check. It wasn't smooth enough, other than that I'm happy,” Ng said.
“Duke Wai is doing brilliant, as you can see in the dirt trial he doesn't like the kickback and he didn't do much. I'm really looking forward to next week – it doesn't matter what they draw, he'll come from the back.”
Looking to Sunday week, Ng said: “We're lucky to get one horse into the internationals and now we've got two. Definitely, a big hope for the whole stable. I tried my best to get these two horses selected and now we've done the first step, I hope we can make the second step (of running well).
“There are some strong international raiders there who are strong as well, so I think it will be a pretty even race and a great race to watch.”
Sunday's meeting starts with the Class 5 Ashley Handicap (1200m, dirt) at 1pm HKT.