High Rev exploded to an impressive win at Happy Valley last month and the exciting galloper will attempt to back-up that performance in the Class 3 Jaffe Handicap (1650m) at the city track on Wednesday night.
The David Hall-trained five-year-old heads in off a mark of 75 and a 130lb burden, having smashed his rivals in his last two course and distance outings, both under champion jockey Zac Purton. The bay put three and a quarter lengths on the field with little fuss three weeks ago, having wrapped up last term with a six and three-quarter length demolition.
High Rev posts an impressive win at the Valley, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club
“Zac said he was floating a little bit and got to the front and probably had the race won. He said he thought he was going to pull up and wait for him so he gave him one round the backside and when he did, he took off,” Hall said.
“Last season’s win, everyone maybe thought it was a tactical scenario but then he’s backed it up and he’s ready to go again.”
Hall is looking for his late-maturing bay to make the step up to Class 2 sooner than later, with longer distances also on the agenda for the two-time course and distance winner.
“The way he’s winning, you’d be disappointed if he didn’t make it into Class 2,” he said.
“He’s done it twice now so if he turns up in that sort of form and wins again, he goes into Class 2 on a light weight. It’s a big jump from Class 3 to 2 but he’s probably still got a bit more in the locker as far as he hasn’t increased his distance yet, he looks like he’ll run a bit further.”
The Melbourne Cup-winning handler is interested to see how far ability and pedigree will take his Australian-bred.
“How far in distance he can get will be interesting - and how high he can climb? I’m sure we haven't seen where he’s going to get to yet,” the trainer said.
“He’s very strong at the end of the mile so I don't think there’s any problem about 1800 metres, and the 2000 metres, Fastnet Rock can get mile and a half horses and the mother won the Australian Oaks as well. He certainly will be visiting that at some point, we’ll stretch him, for sure.”
High Rev took nine races last term to find his way to the winner’s arch but now has a record of three wins from his last five starts.
“He was gelded after he arrived and he was a bit of a rat,” Hall explained. “Mentally he wasn’t in the right place, being a Fastnet Rock colt. He probably should have been gelded before he came so he went through a bit of a transition period after he was gelded and once he settled down and learnt what his job was, he got it right.”
High Rev faces nine rivals in the midweek test, including top-rated My Ally from the John Moore-stable. Apprentice Alfred Chan takes the ride for the second time and is hoping to maintain a 100% winning record on the five-year-old.
Chan’s 10lb claim will be a welcome relief, reducing the gelding’s allotted 133lb to 123lb in the night’s seventh of nine contests.
“I see him as a chance,” the rider said. “His last two runs were at 1200 metres and he’s shown early speed even at that shorter distance, so the 1650 should not be a problem.
“Unluckily, he’s drawn nine, but there are not many natural leaders in the race so I should be able to get him to the lead.”
My Ally was under trainer Michael Chang’s care when Chan steered him to success at the end of last season and Moore is more than happy to utilise the apprentice, who is seeking a first win for the stable after 12 rides in total.
“They went pretty quick in the 1200 (metres) race the other day and I think it gassed My Ally,” the trainer said. “The way the race was run, I don't think it suited him so that’s why we’ve gone to the mile with Alfie Chan back on, in the hope that he gets a softer lead than last time.”
Chan is riding at a 50% place strike rate for the stable this term after six rides, and took third atop Beauty Charisma (124lb) at the Valley last month. Moore is entrusting that speedster to Chan’s hands again in the Class 3 Lockhart Handicap (1000m).
“Beauty Charisma is a bit of a short runner and he had all the favours the other day with the weight and the gate and he ran a place,” Moore said.
“Alfie’s doing ok, so from the point of view of a horse that suits his style of riding, on-speed, I think he’s there with a live chance on My Ally and with Beauty Charisma, we’ll see what happens. I do like to use him to give the horse some relief in the weights, but I do also take into consideration the running style of horses and whether his style will suit them.”
Chan has a respectable six wins on the board this season for a Hong Kong career total
of 15 since returning from his overseas training last spring.
“So far it’s going well but I should pick up some more winners,” he said. “I was pleased to ride another winner for Douglas Whyte last weekend, he’s put me on three times and I’ve had a good result with two winners. He’s taught me a bit about racing so hopefully I can get more rides from him and keep learning from everyone. I’m improving a bit but I’m always looking to pick up more improvement.”
Wednesday’s card starts at 6.45pm with the Class 4 Harbour Handicap (1200m).