Former Aussie Can Win At Valley

Happy Valley - starts at 12h40

Tomodachi Kokoroe has been one of this season’s best improvers and he’s aiming to join a select club when he shoots for a fifth win this season in Wednesday’s Class 2 Soko Islands Handicap at Happy Valley.

Only two horses have won five races or more this term, I Give (six) and Happy Together (five), while Tomodachi Kokoroe has been a revelation for trainer David Hayes, netting his quartet across the past seven starts.

A six-time winner in Australia pre-import, Tomodachi Kokoroe raced in the state of Queensland for the bulk of his career – where he was undefeated – scoring four times at Cairns and twice at Townsville, when known as Bank Bank Bank.

Tomodachi Kokoroe has earnt over HK$6 million in stakes (Pic – HKJC)

“It’s quite amazing to think a horse who has come from Cairns is doing what he is doing in Hong Kong – amazing effort,” Hayes said. “When he arrived and I read the form I was a bit worried about Cairns, but when I started working him, he always worked like a good horse.”

The 91-rater has career earnings of HK$6.81 million in Hong Kong. He won a hot Class 1 last month at Happy Valley, which saw him share DBS x Manulife Million Challenge top honours, while his previous three wins have come in Class 3 and Class 4.

“He’s really held his form well, he’s won his last two starts from wide barriers (seven and 12), so they were good efforts – great rides by Karis Teetan,” Hayes said.

Co-winner of the DBS x Manulife Million Challenge, Copartner Ambition (120lb), is also seeking a fifth win tomorrow night and races against Tomodachi Kokoroe.

The HK$2.84 million dash also features Seasons Wit (135lb), Bundle Of Charm (129lb), Majestic Knight (128lb), Beauty Charge (127lb), Gummy Gummy (123lb), Bon’s A Pearla (122lb), Wonder Kit (121lb), Astrologer (119lb) and Youthful Deal (118lb).

Aiming to surge past the 40-win mark this season, Hayes is eager to test Tomodachi Kokoroe at Sha Tin in the near future.

“I can’t wait to try him over 1400 metres at Sha Tin. I think with his size and scope that he’ll develop into a nice horse in the upper classes at Sha Tin. He’ll go across after this race,” Hayes said.

Hayes has 28 wins this term and earnings of HK$45.41 million for connections.

“Not bad. I’ve only got a stable of 50 and I’m cemented in the top 10 – which is alright. I haven’t lost so many horses this season, which has been refreshing. Hitting mid-40s with a 50-horse stable would good, so I’m hoping for that,” Hayes said.

Hayes is preparing Star Mac for the 147th HK$26 million BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m), while dual winner Ka Ying Rising is expected to return on the same day (Sunday, 24 March).

“Star Mac has pulled up well and I think he’ll appreciate the 2000 metres more than most horses going into the race. His two lead-up runs have been good,” Hayes said.

M Unicorn can also reach five wins this season. The Hong Kong International Sale graduate features in the Class 3 Peng Chau Handicap tomorrow.

  • Hayes also saddles Precision Goal at Wednesday’s  nine-race Happy Valley fixture, which commences at 12h40 with the Class 5 Ap Lei Chau Handicap.

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