Vincent Ho is hopeful that improving youngster Eternal Harvest can put a barrier mishap behind him and continue his ascent up the handicap when he tackles a competitive field in the Class 3 Cha Kwo Ling Handicap at Happy Valley today.
The Ricky Yiu-trained four-year-old reared in the gates at his last start, back in July, and was scratched from the race.
But, prior to that, the rising talent had climbed 15 points in the ratings with two wins from five starts.
“He’s a little bit tricky in the gates,” Ho said. “Last race of the season he went in a little bit too early and he just got impatient and started to rear up, and when he did that, we both hit our heads, so we had to scratch.”
The four-year-old’s final completed run of last term was an impressive one, as he defeated a classy field over the course and distance: his rivals that time included Metro Warrior and Flying Genius (121lb), he faces the latter again and boasts two wins over 1000m at the city circuit.
“Eternal Harvest trialled well and behaved well in the gates, so he should be fine and he’ll be a bit stronger this time around; he’s still quite immature but you can see his ability already. I liked the way he trialled – he finished off well,” Ho said.
Eternal Harvest (120lb) faces 10 opponents including Loving A Boom (133lb), Green Aeon (130lb), Heart Conquered (121lb), Nextmodel (115lb) and Saul’s Special (133lb). The last-named drops into Class 3 for the first time since his last win, in June 2019, which was also the last time Zac Purton paired with the ex-Australian galloper.
“It’s a suitable class for him – he’s got a reasonably good gate and I thought his trial was decent, so he should be a chance,” Purton said.
The Michael Chang-trained galloper lines up in search of his fifth Hong Kong win.
“He’s had a good preparation and he’s working well, so I expect he run well,” Chang said.
“His trial was good, the horse is fresh – he loves the track and we’ve got the best jockey on, so there’s no excuse.”
Ho has two wins so far this term and heads to Happy Valley as one of four jockeys with a full book of eight rides, including the Frankie Lor-trained The Runner in the Class 3 Hang Hau Handicap (1200m).
The five-year-old was an off-season acquisition for Lor, transferring from the Douglas Whyte yard where he was a two-time winner, including at his final run for the South African handler.
“He worked well, I think he should be alright in Class 3 with the light weight,” Ho said.
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