Connections aren’t playing favourites with Matthew Chadwick but he’s winning nonetheless
He has ridden fewer favourites this season than any other jockey ranked in the championship’s top 10, but Matthew Chadwick heads to Sha Tin on Sunday off a Wednesday dirt double, one of the Tony Cruz Award holder’s four multiple-win meetings in March.
It is not only in raw numbers that Chadwick, who sat out most of December, all of January and some of February after he fractured his right ankle in a pre-trial accident, trails his fellow top-10 riders when it comes to partnering favoured gallopers.
At just 3.55 per cent, Chadwick’s percentage of rides that are aboard favourites is the lowest in that subsection, but his lack of short-priced mounts is not stopping him posting a higher win rate than all except the big five – Zac Purton, Vincent Ho Chak-yiu, Silvestre de Sousa, Hugh Bowman and Karis Teetan.
Moreover, Chadwick is one of only two jockeys who are outperforming the Hong Kong betting market this term. Chadwick’s 29 actual wins compare favourably with his 28.60 expected wins, while Mauritian magician Teetan’s respective numbers are 39 and 36.70.
“I try to get the best rides I can, and then I try to give them the best rides I can,” Chadwick said when asked if he was frustrated at how few favourites he gets to steer in spite of his impressive results.
Chadwick has assignments in nine of Sunday’s 10 races at Sha Tin, including rides on All For St Paul’s in the Class Two Beas River Handicap (1,600m), Brave Dreams in the Class Three Shek Sheung River Handicap (1,200m), Super Hong Kong in the Class Four Sha Tau Kok River Handicap (2,000m) and Helene Wisdom Star in the Class Four Ng Tung River Handicap (1,400m).
Covering the middle 800m of his last race 1.22 seconds faster than the Class Two standard time gassed All For St Paul’s, who plugged on to finish fourth behind subsequent Hong Kong Derby favourite Beauty Eternal and a couple of gallopers whom he reopposes, California Ten and Spirited Express.
“Zac [Purton aboard Beauty Eternal] was quite intent in staying off the fence, so he jumped well and made us use our horse. Blake [Shinn aboard The Rock] was on the outside and he just kept rolling. From where we were, I had to use him a little bit to cross Zac,” Chadwick said regarding that February 26 contest.
“He’s a very honest horse,” said Chadwick of All For St Paul’s. “He tries his best. He’s probably at quite a high rating, but he always puts his best foot forward. He rarely does anything wrong. If anything happens, he’s always there to pick up the pieces.”
Whereas Chadwick is likely to lead on All For St Paul’s in the Beas River Handicap, he is likely to settle back aboard Brave Dreams in the Shek Sheung River Handicap as a consequence of the draw.
“The tempo of the race is really going to dictate what we do because you can’t ride him too positively, otherwise he might get on the chewy,” Chadwick said of Brave Dreams, who starts from barrier 10.
“It’s typical. When Zac rode him, he drew gate one. When I ride him, now for the second time he’s drawn outside, and he’s up in grade, which doesn’t help.”
Chadwick was Super Hong Kong’s jockey when he was a shock winner over 2,000m at Sha Tin on February 19 – the galloper had finished last in his previous race.
“He’s fit and well. As long as circumstances play into our hands, there’s no reason he can’t be in the finish,” Chadwick said of Super Hong Kong.
Whereas Chadwick retains the rides aboard All For St Paul’s, Brave Dreams and Super Hong Kong, he reunites with Helene Wisdom Star, albeit from barrier 12.
“I was riding him a long time ago,” said Chadwick, who partnered Helene Wisdom Star in three of his first nine trials, and then one race in November.
“They wanted to put the kid [Angus Chung Yik-lai] on to take the weight off. Then I’ve been busy, and I’ve been trying to get back on him. Unfortunately, he’s drawn a bad gate in a race that’s devoid of pace.”
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