Umberto’s Choice the Right one

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Right Choice

heads into Wednesday's (11 September) eight-race card at Happy Valley primed for the mount aboard Right Choice (118lb) in the Class 2 Big Wave Bay Handicap (1650m).

Happy Valley's first meeting of the season marks the start of the DBS x Manulife Million Challenge, which runs until 26 February. The competition is for horses racing in Class 3 and , with points awarded for first, second, third and fourth place finishes.

A first-up win for Right Choice would bag 15 points in the HK$1 million contest.

“He needed a break because he had a tough season, jumping from Class 4 to the top of Class 2 – he definitely needed a rest,” Rispoli said of the -trainer gelding, who won five from eight in his debut campaign.

Right Choice was one of 's most improved gallopers last season – rising from a rating of 52 in Class 4 to a Class 2 figure of 89.

“This is his first time at the Valley, he just kept improving last year and at the end of the season it was a little bit tough because he reached a high rating in Class 2 but he was still competitive,” the Italian said.

The Mastercraftsman gelding mopped up four wins in succession as he bagged five from his first six starts and is after well-deserved a four-month rest.

“His trial was ok, the track was very sloppy and he didn't really like it. He's a horse who prefers the grass that's for sure.”

The gelding, a dirt track winner on debut but raced exclusively on turf since, is untested beyond 1600m. Rispoli suspects that stepping out over further would be .

“He's been giving me the impression that he can be as well over 1800 metres to 2000 metres this season – he can go further, but the 1650 first-up is no problem,” he said.

Up against Right Choice are Doctor Geoff (133lb), Enrichment (118lb) and Harmony Hero (113lb), as well as the Lor-trained (131lb) who steps out for the first time this season following a Hong Kong Classic Series campaign that yielded a big win in the (1800m).

“I'm very happy with his barrier, he feels like he'll do a furlong or so further, he feels really well. Everything about him is in a good place,” said Wednesday night's pilot .

Mission Tycoon is aiming to build on his Four-Year-Old Classic Series campaign and Domeyer is upbeat about the gelding's continued progression.

“He's a solid boy, he's , he's got gate speed and he does everything that a Hong Kong horse should do – he's a competitive athlete,” he said.

“I was pleased with his trial, he did everything I needed him to do. He's obviously in good hands with Frankie and there are a lot of positives to look at.”

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