Luke Ferraris hops back in the saddle for competition on Wednesday with four rides at Happy Valley’s midweek fixture under lights.
Ruled out of Sunday’s (4 June) first twilight programme at Sha Tin due to illness, the 21-year-old is raring to return and chases victories aboard a pair of mounts he knows all too well for trainer David Hall: Joyful Genius and Melbourne Hall.
Victorious atop both horses this season, Ferraris bids for back-to-back wins with Joyful Genius when the pair lines up in the first section of the Class 4 Sheung Hei Handicap (1650m) from barrier five after a first success in the grade last month.
“He’s been a tricky customer. He’s a horse with a lot of quirks, he was perhaps overdue for his second win. He just had a few small issues before that – travelling too hard in races and needing the blinkers but not being ready to put them on as he would over race but he seems to have got over that,” Ferraris said.
Joyful Genius is a two-time winner this season and sports blinkers for the third time tomorrow night when he breaks from barrier five at the city circuit.
“He’s switching off with the blinkers on, so now he’s switching off and concentrating better. His last win was full of merit, he really attacked the line strongly and strode between the other horses confidently, so with that in the back of my mind and going to Happy Valley with a fairly soft draw – it gives me a bit of confidence,” Ferraris said.
Nearing the conclusion of his second season in Hong Kong, Ferraris has 27 wins – seven more than last campaign – and is aiming to reach new highs in the coming years.
“It’s definitely a mark I want to get to (30 wins) and hopefully surpass, it’s a good build on last season and hopefully the upward trend can continue.
“I think last season it was more of just a feeler, getting to know the tracks and the different racing scene – it was one thing growing up here but riding is a different ball game.
“Relationships have been built and it’s been good to put them to use – the support’s been a lot better and I just think it’s a better understanding of the Hong Kong racing scene and what it takes to get going here,” Ferraris said.
Ferraris has five wins in tandem with Hall this term and will seek a second triumph in four starts aboard Melbourne Hall when the pair tackles the Class 4 Hong Kong Institute Of Certified Public Accountants 50th Anniversary Cup Handicap (1200m).
“He loves the track (Happy Valley), he gets around there well, he’s as honest as the day is long, and as long as things go his way – he gets a smooth run in transit – then there’s no reason why he can’t finish off.
“He’s yet to produce a bad run, he’s honest and he’ll give a good account of himself,” Ferraris said.
Melbourne Hall has two wins and two placings this season, while tomorrow night he steps away from gate seven with 127lb assigned.
Xponential is a four-time winner at Happy Valley for trainer Douglas Whyte and returns to contest the finale – the Class 3 Tseuk Luk Handicap (1200m) under an in-form Lyle Hewitson.
“You’d love a handful of him in your yard. He’s as honest as the day is long. He has crept up significantly in the handicap but he seems to be handling it and he loves the Valley,” Whyte said.
The Equiano gelding boasts five placings and one win from eight starts this season.
Wednesday’s nine-race fixture at Happy Valley kicks off at 12h45 with the Class 5 Tai Yau Handicap (1800m).
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