The focus stays on the fascinating title duel between Joao Moreira and Zac Purton and first blood can go to the ‘Magic Man’ Moreira on HAPPY GOOD GUYS.
Ricky Yiu’s charge had his chance blown by a disastrous start on his latest outing over course and distance three weeks ago and prior to that, he had very little luck when finishing a close fourth to Sky Treasure, beaten just over a length. He’s now 8lbs better off with that runner and Moreira riding for the first time is a huge bonus.
And here’s a stat to add into the mix too. This is just the 10th time Moreira has ridden for Yiu in 2020, with eight of those nine runners either winning or being placed. Make of that what you will.
He’s the NAP.
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SIMPLY FLUKE has done us a couple of favours in recent weeks, with his two extraordinary successes, and judging by his latest triumph, he can do his followers another turn here.
On his latest start over the 1200m three weeks ago, Doug Whyte’s five-year-old looked in trouble after a slow start. Despite being stone last at the 400m mark, and having to switch wide, Simply Fluke still managed to flash home to keep his unbeaten record intact since joining his new trainer.
He’s also two from two when Joao Moreira has been on board. While he’s gone up another 7lbs for his latest success, he looks well capable of defying that. The main danger appears to be Destine Jewellery, who’s been running consistently of late, but he’s been overlooked by Moreira in favour of Simply Fluke.
There have been numerous eye-catchers at Happy Valley in recent weeks but none more so than NORDIC WARRIOR on his most recent start. Richard Gibson’s five-year-old had it all to do after a slow start and turning for home over the 1200m trip, still had all 11 opponents to pass.
It was from here that he caught the eye and while having his run blocked twice in the last 200m, he still managed to weave his way home to take the runner-up spot, beaten just over a length. While he hasn’t won since March 2019, his finishing kick is a huge attribute. All of his last three runs have been encouraging.
A lot of Gibson’s horses have been hitting the woodwork of late, but should Nordic Warrior get the breaks from a great draw, he should give his trainer a welcome winner.
Despite not winning in his three runs to date in Class 3 handicaps, it’s safe to say that WHAT A LEGEND hasn’t had luck on his side. That is most definitely the case on his latest start. In that race over course and distance (C&D), he met many of today’s runners when Chad Schofield endured a nightmare journey from 200m out.
Getting boxed in, he finished the race pretty much hard on the bridle, beaten just a length and a half by Californiadeepshot and Little Bird. His win in January proved that he has a decisive turn of foot, to go along with his high cruising speed, and he looks excellent value to collect here.
If you can forgive AMAZING STAR from flopping two runs ago, when he may have run too free up front, then there’s every chance he can win for the fifth time this season.
Jimmy Ting’s progressive five-year-old bounced back in decisive fashion over C&D last month and Zac Purton retains the partnership, having won on him five times from seven tries. Moreira rides Shining Ace but he’s had no excuses in his last four starts so look to Shining Gem as the main danger. Vincent Ho rides him, despite having won on This Is Class three times this year, and Ricky Yiu’s four-year-old won with plenty in hand over C&D three weeks ago.
*Prices correct at publishing but are subject to change