The two-time Hong Kong champion trainer hopes Trader can break a three-and-a-half-month drought for the likeable jockey
Keith Yeung Ming-lun hasn’t won a race since January 27 but trainer David Hayes hopes he can help change that with Trader at Sha Tin on Wednesday night.
The likeable Yeung, who has seven winners for the campaign, comes into the meeting with a run of outs that has extended to 154, the second-longest active streak in Hong Kong racing behind Victor Wong Chun, who remains winless this season from 188 rides.
Hayes has been Yeung’s biggest supporter in 2020-21 – providing 61 rides to the 33-year-old so far – and the two-time Hong Kong champion trainer wants to play a role in snapping that drought.
“It would be good to break Keith’s run of outs, he’s had a frustrating time,” Hayes said.
Trader was impressive winning on debut with Zac Purton in the saddle but struggled in his second start when competing in Class Three for the first time, dropping out to finish eighth.
Hayes is prepared to forgive the three-year-old though after discovering an issue post-race.
“He got his tongue back – he was needing a tongue tie – and I thought we’d get double insurance and put some blinkers on him because I noticed at Rosehill [in Australia], his best trial was in blinkers,” Hayes said.
“I put them on the other day and he did trial well in them. So I don’t know if it was the blinkers or the tongue tie, but I’m doing both.
“I was a bit shocked that he ran like he did but there was an excuse with the tongue getting back. He’s been tested since and Zac said he came through in flying colours. He couldn’t have been more impressive in his trial.”
The other change is a switch to the dirt, a move inspired after he won that trial by seven and a quarter lengths last week.
Trader has also drawn well for the Class Three Kat O Handicap (1,200m), landing gate four, and his trainer expects him to be prominent in running.
“It looks like he likes [the dirt] – he’s trialled twice very well on it. You never know until you race them – I’d like to bet that he will handle it,” Hayes said.
“You wouldn’t imagine he’d be further back than third, I wouldn’t care if he led.”
Hayes enjoyed a terrific April, winning eight races, and he saddles up a team of six on Wednesday night.
But he is not too optimistic about the chances of Metro Warrior, who takes on two young guns in Winner Method and Carroll Street in the Class Three Grass Island Handicap (1,000m).
Metro Warrior comes into the race in good form – he’s placed behind each of those rising stars in his past two starts – but Hayes feels it is unlikely he can turn the tables on them.
“I don’t know if he’s good enough to beat them,” he said. “He’s in great form, he’s raced probably career-best his last two runs but not won so I’m a little bit worried about them.”
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