Jockey Nash Rawiller believes E-Super can regain the outright lead in the Hong Kong Airlines Million Challenge with a third win for the season in the Class 3 Calla Lily Handicap (1000m) at Happy Valley on Wednesday night. The annual series has just one week still to go.
The Hong Kong Airlines Million Challenge, which began in September, is a points-based competition for horses contesting Class 3 races and above at Happy Valley. It culminates in a big night of racing at the city track next Wednesday (21 February).
The Manfred Man-trained E-Super (133lb) is right in contention for the HK$650,000 first prize. He sits second in the Hong Kong Airlines Million Challenge standings behind Danny Shum’s Charity Glory, with a record of two wins, two seconds and a third from six starts this season.
E-Super’s latest win came over 1000m at Happy Valley on 27 December with Rawiller in the saddle, while he stepped up to 1200m for his most recent run, a Class 2 on 31 January, finishing third to Super Fluke. Rawiller feels that the return to 1000m is a positive on Wednesday night.
E-Super wins the Fakei Cup upon his seasonal reappearance in September, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club
“I think he races very well over 1000m at Happy Valley,” the jockey said. “He’s just a competitive little horse. Whatever you put him in at a sprinting trip, he’s competitive. I think his favoured option though is the 1000m.
“He’s freshened up nicely since his last run, which wasn’t long ago - obviously, that’s not ideal, only a couple of weeks – but I gave him a really quiet piece of work on the weekend, he gave me a great feel and he’s feeling nice and fresh.”
Two back, E-Super clung on after leading throughout, but Rawiller believes that the six-year-old is more likely to find himself just behind the leaders this time around.
“I will try to jump as best as we can, get a nice, clean break, be positive and just let them sort themselves out around me,” he said. “He’s probably unlikely to be able to lead again with some of those horses in there like Ocean Roar, but he’ll certainly put himself right on the backs of them. He can still race very well ridden that way, too. He can let down off a hot tempo.”
E-Super is one of eight course and distance winners in the 12-runner line-up. Country Melody (132lb), Money Boy (122lb), General Iron (120lb), Moment Of Power (115lb), Mr Right (115lb), Diamond Master (114lb) and Ocean Roar (113lb) all boast wins over the Happy Valley 1000m.
The Calla Lily Handicap is the sixth of eight races and will jump at 9.45pm.