On the cusp of reaching 500 Hong Kong wins, Vincent Ho hopes Super Sunny Sing can deliver a second Hong Kong Derby (2000m) triumph at Sha Tin on Sunday when Chris So's stable star bids to seal a meteoric rise.
With 499 Hong Kong victories to his credit, Ho is poised to become only the second home-grown jockey to achieve the 500-mark in Hong Kong behind Tony Cruz (946 wins) but his focus is very much on Classic – rather than personal – success.
“I think the horse has a good chance so I'm relaxed and I'm looking forward to it,” Ho said of Super Sunny Sing, who posted a fourth straight victory with Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800m) success on 26 February.
Triumphant on Golden Sixty in the 2020 BMW Hong Kong Derby from barrier nine, Ho will start his search for a second Classic trophy from exactly the same gate on Super Sunny Sing.
Acutely aware of the challenges posed by the short run to the turn out of the straight from the 2000m start, Ho hinted he would adopt a patient approach on Super Sunny Sing before giving the Nicconi gelding his head turning for home.
“We'll just see how the race pace pans out and what the other horses do. I would say he'll jump well and just relax where he is comfortable – that's the best way to ride him,” Ho said.
With 53 wins so far this season, Ho is second in the Hong Kong jockeys' championship behind Zac Purton (105) as he prepares to partner So's much improved galloper.
To face 13 rivals at the weekend, Super Sunny Sing had a mark of 52 at the end of last season but has since surged to a current rating of 94, having risen 10 points for his authoritative Hong Kong Classic Cup display when he swept from eighth at the 800m mark to prevail over Derby contenders Sword Point and Galaxy Witness.
Hugh Bowman will partner Sword Point in quest of a third Hong Kong Derby win after the Australian's previous successes on Werther (2016) and Furore (2019), while Purton chases a second Classic aboard top contender Beauty Eternal for John Size, having partnered Luger for Size in 2015.
Karis Teetan, who rides Flagship Warrior for David Hayes, is bidding for successive Derby triumphs after last year's epic atop Romantic Warrior, as Ryan Moore teams up with Size and Tuchel seeking his second win in the race after prevailing on Size-trained Ping Hai Star in 2018.