A hot nine-race card at Happy Valley on Wednesday (29 January) night is the stage for an attempted four-timer when Hardly Swears (125lb) returns to action in the Class 3 Queen’s Road East Handicap (1200m).
Jimmy Ting’s lightly-raced charge completed a hat-trick when successful at the course and distance in late November and returns refreshed for the fray.
“After his three wins I gave him a break and he’s still in good form – perhaps not at his top, but still in good form,” the handler said.
The five-year-old was unplaced on debut late last term but has been a revelation since with his three unblemished wins, all under Keith Yeung who retains the ride.
The All Too Hard gelding was raised seven points for his latest score and lines up off a career high mark of 70. That does not faze Ting, who is pleased to see his game charge draw the inside berth in the field of 12.
“I think he still has a very good chance – he has a good draw (one), everything is fine with him and we’re hoping he can win again,” he said.
“We’ll look at 1400 metres later. We’ll see how he does in this race, and, if he can still win, we’ll stick with that winning formula. The horse is still improving and he has a very good heart. He will always run very hard, he tries his best.”
Among his rivals is the Caspar Fownes-trained Aurora Pegasus (124lb) – the mount of Zac Purton – another hat-trick scorer this term and a solid fourth at the course and distance three weeks ago.
Meanwhile, Reliable Team will attempt to advance along the road to the BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) when he lines up in the finale, the Class 2 Tin Lok Handicap (1650m).
Joao Moreira is booked to ride the Frankie Lor-trained four-year-old for the first time; the course and distance winner was second last start over 1800m at Sha Tin, behind Chefano and ahead of fellow Classic Series aspirants such as Enjoying and Super Oasis.
The competitive nightcap also features three-time course and distance winner High Rev (119lb), track record holder Green Luck (130lb), Easy Go Easy Win (121lb) and Red Desert (119lb).
The other Class 2 on the card is the penultimate race, the Stubbs Handicap (1200m), in which the in-form Gentle Breeze (126lb) will attempt to secure a fourth win this season.
The 12-runner contest is also set to feature Cue The Music (122lb) from the in-form David Ferraris yard. A course and distance winner two starts back, the four-year-old was second to the talented Voyage Warrior over 1000m at Sha Tin last time.