He’s the only jockey to win on Harmony And Rich in Hong Kong and he’s done so three times, but Matthew Chadwick believes his unblemished record aboard the five-year-old is as much a case of right place, right time than anything he does to extract the best out of the galloper.
After failing to record a win in his opening 10 Hong Kong starts under the likes of Zac Purton, Karis Teetan and Alexis Badel – including six times at single-figure odds – Harmony And Rich came to life when he teamed up with Chadwick, reeling off at victories at $11, $10 and $10 in the back half of last season.
The pair looks to continue its dream run from gate seven in the Class Two Wong Chuk Hang Handicap (1,200m) at Happy Valley on Wednesday night, which Harmony And Rich enters off the back of a strong trial performance behind The Crown at Conghua last week.
“He’s an honest horse and that helps. I’ve been in the right place at the right time with him, he always looked like he had a bit of class about him – otherwise Zac and the other boys wouldn’t have been riding him,” Chadwick said. “He found his stride at the right time for me.”
All of Harmony And Rich’s successes have come over the Valley 1,000m but the Me Tsui Yu-sak-trained speedster tackles six furlongs at the city circuit for the first time in a race featuring the likes of Grateful Heart, Igniting and Loving A Boom.
“He gives me the impression that he can relax, last season I sat off Super Axiom, I took a sit and I think he does everything well enough so he should be able to handle the 1,200m,” Chadwick said. “He doesn’t feel like he won’t like it.”
Chadwick has five rides at the midweek meeting as he chases his first winner of the new season and he maintains his association with the Tony Cruz-trained Stimulation, who will sport new silks in the Class Three Hong Kong Country Club Challenge Cup (1,650m) after a change of ownership in the off-season.
The extended Valley mile shapes as too short for the seven-year-old, whose two Hong Kong wins have come at 1,800m and 2,000m, but Chadwick expects it to be a good starting point for the gelding as he looks to work his way back to full fitness after not running since February.
“It looks a bit short for him, he’s had one trial and I’m sure there will be improvement to come with him fitness-wise, but he’s drawn a decent gate [one] so he should be able to jump well and hold a handy enough position,” Chadwick said. “We’ll just see how it pans out, whether he tires in the last bit, we’ll find out.”
Chadwick also partners Happy Jai Jai, who has his second start for Benno Yung Tin-pang in the Class Five Nam Fung Handicap (1,200m) after beginning his career with David Hayes, and Manfred Man Ka-leung-trained pair Happy Gathering and Compassion Spirit.