Leading the trainers’ championship on 20 wins, Pierre Ng is confident Taj Dragon can overcome Happy Valley’s nuances when he contests the HK$3.12 million Class 2 Tokyo Handicap under jockey Zac Purton on Wednesday 15 November.
A three-time winner from 10 starts at Sha Tin, Taj Dragon tackles the city circuit’s unique turns, undulations and electric atmosphere for the first time with a class and distance-rising task from barrier eight against the likes of Telecom Fighters, Helene Feeling, Galaxy Witness, Hameron and more.
“Taj Dragon is brilliant after his last run. The only problem is that it’s his first time over this distance and with a wide gate. I think we’ll have to preserve him in the run.
“I don’t think he’ll have any concerns handling Happy Valley. He’s been there to trial, and he’s travelled before, so it shouldn’t be a problem,” Ng said.
Ng, who is in sizzling form with eight wins from the last three fixtures, has assembled yet another menacing team of nine for Wednesday’s card as he aims to increase his six-win lead over Francis Lui, Danny Shum and Frankie Lor, who each have 14 wins so far.
Taj Dragon’s three triumphs have come over 1400m, while last Saturday (11 November), Ng celebrated his first four-timer, three of which came in tandem with Purton.
“I hope carrying the light weight in this class that he can do more, the only limit to him is his size. But he did fine carrying top weight last time, so I think it’s ok,” Ng said.
Taj Dragon is the smallest runner in Wednesday’s race with a 1,032lb bodyweight. He is yet to race beyond 1400m across his career.
Humble Star, Fortune Warrior, Super Commander, Dragon Star, Tattenham, Spicy So Smart, Healthy Healthy and Brilliant Way round out Ng’s representatives at the Valley.
Looking ahead to Sunday’s (19 November) Gr2 triple-header at Sha Tin, Ng saddles Duke Wai and Super Wealthy in the HK$5.35 million Gr2 BOCHK Private Banking Jockey Club Sprint.
“Duke Wai’s doing well after his trial. We have nothing to complain about,” Ng said.
Super Wealthy is first-up this weekend following an extended break at Conghua, where he has trialled three times, while Duke Wai returns after his close-up third in the HK$5.35 million Gr2 Premier Bowl Handicap behind Sight Success and Lucky Sweynesse, respectively.
“Super Wealthy had colic surgery towards the end of March, so we’ve given him time to bring him back up,” Ng said.
Luke Ferraris rides Super Wealthy, while Andrea Atzeni partners both Duke Wai and Glorious Dragon, with the latter resuming in the HK$5.35 million Gr2 BOCHK Jockey Club Cup on the same day.
“I don’t know why or how Glorious Dragon has done it but he looks brilliant. He’s sustained injuries before but he’s moving very well, he’s sound and he’s enjoying Conghua,” Ng said.
The eight-year-old races for the first time since his unplaced Gr1 Dubai Turf effort at Meydan in Dubai last March.
This Sunday’s programme also features the HK$5.35 million Gr2 BOCHK Private Wealth Jockey Club Mile.
Wednesday’s nine-race fixture at Happy Valley commences at 12h40 with the Class 5 Kokura Handicap.