It will have been seven weeks between winners for Chris So Wai-yin when he heads to Happy Valley on Wednesday night and he hopes the last horse he tasted success with can put an end to what has become a nagging drought.
So saddles up one of his more consistent horses in Zhan Jiang Rocks in the Class Three Hung To Handicap (1,650m) and expects another strong showing from a galloper who has won once and placed three times from his four runs this term.
“He’s a lot more mature than last year, even last season he started to come on and this season his form has been good,” So said.
“Even his last run when he finished second, the slow pace and the draw were not ideal but he still ran really well.
“I hope he can win again because it’s been a bit quiet for me, the horses are running well but still no winners.”
Zhan Jiang Rocks’ victory on December 4 was the last time So made a trip to the winner’s circle but he has had 15 placings since, including three in the past week.
The 51-year-old has only had 10 victories in 2019-20 but he knows all he can do is ride out his lean run and do his best not to let it wear on him.
“There’s always worry but that’s racing,” he smiled. “Some of the new horses are not quite ready, they have run well but they just need to keep running and some of the winners from early in the season have gone up. With the new horses, we just need to wait and get them ready.”
Zhan Jiang Rocks will be ridden by Karis Teetan on Wednesday night and the Mauritian has barrier one at his disposal, with the five-year-old’s only win coming from gate two at the course and distance.
The gelding has come on nicely this season after an up-and-down first campaign in Hong Kong produced just one third placing from 11 starts.
A drop into Class Four allowed Zhan Jiang Rocks to work his way into some form and his second against a solid field in Class Three last time out suggests he should have plenty to give in the grade.
So takes only three runners to the city circuit this week, with unremarkable private purchase griffin Turf Brilliant lining up in the Class Four Wai Yip Handicap (1,650m) as he makes a beeline to the cellar grade after failing to finish better than eighth in six Class Four appearances to start his career.
Best Smile rounds out So’s trio, with the five-year-old looking to arrest a form slide in the Class Four Shing Yip Handicap (1,200m).
After two seconds to begin his career, the gelding faded for sixth in October before finishing a long last at his most recent appearance, with all of his runs so far over the Valley 1,000m.
“Maybe the 1,200m will be easier for him, the 1,000m might be too sharp for him now. Hopefully a step-up in distance suits him,” So said.