More left in the tank for Preciousship: Ricky Yiu
Championship-leading trainer Ricky Yiu Poon-fai insists his much-improved galloper Preciousship has more in the tank after taking all before him this season.
The five-year-old has been a revelation this campaign, winning four of seven starts in Class Two and Three, and returns in the Bullish Luck Handicap (1,600m).
Boosting his rating to 102, Preciousship will have to carry the top weight in Sunday’s extended ratings Class Two after lumping the bottom weight last start in Class One.
Arriving in Hong Kong with a rating of 82, Preciousship went nine races before winning but is now making his presence felt.
“From day one I have had a high opinion of the horse,” Yiu said. “He is already rated 102, he will still do the job.
“He hasn’t put a step wrong in the mornings, he has been as good as I have seen him. He has managed to hold his condition very well, he is a happy horse. He has that small belly which is good after a long season.”
With heavy rainfall earlier in the week and more forecast, Yiu has concerns over his ability to carry the 133 pounds should the track chop up by the last event of the day.
“His last run was a very good run but I am not sure what the track conditions will be on Sunday,” he said.
“The concern is that he is only a small horse with a little frame but is carrying a lot of weight.”
After partnering him for all of his wins this season, Derby-winning jockey Vincent Ho Chak-yiu will ride again.
“We have the jockey who knows him best back on,” Yiu said. “Vincent has done a very good job with him.”
With a flurry of winners, Yiu has kicked clear in the trainers’ premiership, leading by five wins heading into Champions Day.
With 52 winners to his name, the veteran trainer is already in unchartered waters having never before reached 50 in his distinguished career.
Preciousship is part of a strong team for Yiu on Sunday, who will have a two-pronged attack in the Group One Chairman’s Sprint Prize with Voyage Warrior and Jolly Banner.
Voyage Warrior heads into the race on the back of a blistering win in the Group Two Sprint Cup (1,200m) in what is the traditional lead-in race to the Group One feature.
Ho and Yiu will again team up with Voyage Warrior, where they will attempt to prove that last victory was no fluke.
Yiu has taken a different route with Jolly Banner, with his eight-year-old only lightly raced this season.
The veteran has bypassed the traditional top-level sprint races, instead opting to race in Class One and Group Three company.
Vagner Borges will jump aboard in what is one of two Group One rides for the Brazilian, alongside Elusive State.