Simply Maverick Can Enhance Derby Hopes

Sha Tin first due off @ 07h00 on Sunday

Having savoured the ultimate BMW Hong Kong Derby experience with stable star Voyage Bubble last season, Ricky Yiu is bidding for successive Classic victories with emerging talent Simply Maverick.

Simply Maverick is chasing three wins in a row (Pic – HKJC)

With three wins from his past four starts – all over Happy Valley’s 1650m course – Simply Maverick returns to Sha Tin on Sunday when he will attempt to enhance his rating and Derby prospects in the Class 3 TVB Miss Hong Kong Pageant Handicap.

“Simply Maverick is an exciting horse – really exciting. He’s done well at Happy Valley and I think a big horse like him might be an even better horse at Sha Tin with the big, long straight. He’s improving all the time,” Yiu said.

“We’re aiming for the Derby already – we’re going to run him in the Derby.”

To be ridden by Andrea Atzeni, Simply Maverick will start from barrier 11 against 10 rivals including fellow Hong Kong Derby nominees Moments In Time, Simple Hedge, Devildom and Enigma.

Rated 74, the Sebring gelding has made strong headway this season after starting the campaign on a mark of 51 for Yiu, who celebrated his maiden Derby triumph in 2023 when Alexis Badel piloted Voyage Bubble to a memorable victory after starting from barrier 14.

Voyage Bubble will contest the Gr1 Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup at Sha Tin on 25 February as Yiu chases more elite success with the gelding before a potential tilt at the Gr1 Dubai Turf at Meydan Racecourse on 30 March.

Ricky Yiu is having another strong season (Pic – HKJC)

With 30 wins and 49 minor placings this season from 293 runners, Yiu hopes Good Luck Friend can strike in the Class 2 TVB Cup Handicap under in-form Angus Chung after the gelding’s 10th on Monday at Sha Tin behind Howdeepisyourlove.

“He pulled up really well. He’s a very nice horse and I wouldn’t be surprised if he can do well again at the end of the season,” Yiu said.

Benno Yung will bid to foil Yiu’s plans with Gummy Gummy, who jumps from barrier eight for Jerry Chau in the HK$2.84 million contest.

“I hope he can win, of course, but it’s a competitive race,” Yung said. “He’s in good form, a decent draw will help him a bit. There’s no dirt race there for him and he can handle the turf and the dirt. I think 1400m will be OK.”

Gummy Gummy bids for a third Hong Kong win (Pic – HKJC)

With a pair of wins and five seconds from his past seven starts, Gummy Gummy has reached a career-high mark of 86.

Fresh from a Thursday double, Lyle Hewitson will continue his successful partnership with Francis Lui’s Yellowfin in the Class 3 TVB Midlife, Sing & Shine Handicap.

With three wins on the Australian-bred, Hewitson believes the gelding will be well suited again after a last-start third behind So We Joy over this course and distance on 24 January.

“I think he’s in the same vein of form that he’s been in recently and that’s all we can ask for – he’s ready to go again,” the South African said.

Sunday’s 10-race Sha Tin card starts with the Class 5 TVB Charity Fund Handicap at 07h00.

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