Jimmy Ting Koon-ho believes he has found the perfect man to get the most out of his talented five-year-old Assimilate, saying Antoine Hamelin is the “best jockey” for the horse.
Hamelin is one from one on the son of Sebring after partnering the gelding to victory in Class Three last month and the Frenchman is again in the saddle for Sunday’s Class Two Purves Quaich (1,600m).
At his best when he’s able to unleash his impressive turn of foot in the final stages, Hamelin took Assimilate back to last from gate 11 before storming down the middle of the track in the home straight.
“He’s a good fit for him because he comes from behind, I think he’s the best jockey for this horse,” Ting said.
After starting his Hong Kong career in Class Two on a rating of 82, the Australian import broke his maiden at start 13 with a Class Three victory in January.
He then produced two solid showings over 1,400m in Class Two – finishing within two lengths of the winner both times – before saluting in an extended ratings band Class Three last start, again at 1,400m.
“I think it’ll be hard being back in Class Two but the horse’s form is very good and I think he can improve and get his chance,” said Ting, adding that he doesn’t expect the step-up to 1,600m to pose any problems for his galloper – who has drawn gate five.
“I think he can handle the mile, he’s run third at the trip before. Hopefully he can get a good pace and he can catch them.”
Ting has five runners at Sha Tin this weekend, with Who’s Horse among the second-season trainer’s better chances of snaring a winner when he lines up in the Class Five Ryrie Handicap (1,400m), where he will be ridden by Vincent Ho Chak-yiu from barrier four.
After a largely underwhelming showing in Class Four, the son of All Too Hard was a close fourth in his first outing down in grade last time out, finishing just half a length behind winner Kwaichung Brothers at the same course and distance as Sunday’s contest.
Also among Ting’s hand is debutant Noble Birth, who enters the Class Four Macwhinnie Cup (1,000m) on the back of a pair of solid trials.
“I think he is a nice horse but it will be a bit hard for him at his first start,” Ting said. “I don’t think he’s in winning form but later he will be better. His trials were OK, I think he’ll run well.”
Ting also saddles up Super Elegance and Swift Spirit as he looks to add to his 32 winners for the season, which leaves him sitting 10th in the trainers’ premiership.
The 47-year-old is six winners behind the 38 he amassed in an impressive debut campaign but he says he’ll walk away from this season satisfied regardless of what unfolds across the final nine meetings.
“I hope to reach last year’s mark but even with only two or three more winners I’ll be happy,” Ting said.