By Declan Schuster – HKJC
Ka Ying Star finished 10th in the BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) last start but Vincent Ho believes the gelding will return to form in Wednesday’s (17 April) Class 2 King’s Park Handicap (1650m) at Happy Valley.
Ho has ridden the gelding in all four of his Hong Kong appearances including a debut win at Sha Tin (1600m). The rider is confident that the Tony Cruz-trained galloper has not yet reached his potential.
“No definitely not, he needs time to mature, he’s still very green and physically he isn’t strong enough yet, so he has a lot of improvement to come. He can take a bit to get going, he is still green,” the jockey said.
Ka Ying Star scored on debut in Hong Kong at Class 2 level over 1600m. He then placed third in the first two legs of the Four-Year-Old Classic Series, the Hong Kong Classic Mile (1600m) and the Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800m).
“He just needs time to mature up, both physically and mentally, he is definitely a good horse,” Ho observed.
The Cityscape gelding has shown some of his sire’s qualities – the stallion was a pace-setting miler who capped his career with a make-all four and a quarter-length romp in the 2012 Dubai Duty Free (1800m). Ka Ying Star has led in three of his four outings in Hong Kong – just once he was forced take a sit behind Mission Tycoon who crossed him to lead.
Ho believes the bay will prove his merits over farther, given time.
“I think he can definitely handle 2000m, but back to one mile at Happy Valley suits and he trialled well the other day,” he said.
Ka Ying Star was a three-time winner in Britain pre-import and his upcoming mid-week assignment will be his first race at Happy Valley. But he did lead them home in a recent trial at the city track over 1700m with Ho in the saddle.
Ka Ying Star is one of two BMW Hong Kong Derby also-rans in the Class 2 contest: the well-beaten Mr So And So is also looking for redemption.
“He seems ok, he ran last in the race but the distance obviously tested him,” trainer John Size said.
Mr So And So placed in two consecutive G2 races at Caulfield in Australia pre-import and since moving to Hong Kong he has added a further two wins to his tally from nine races.
“The distance will certainly suit him better, he’s only won over 1400m in Hong Kong, and I think the 1400m at Sha Tin is the best course and distance for him.
“Class 2 is a bit strong at the moment, so we’re going to Happy Valley to see if we can get a nice run round the inside and get some prizemoney,” Size said.