25th April 2018

Eighty Eighty and the handicapper are getting along just fine after the lightly-raced Price Bloodstock galloper again kept his winning margin down to a minimum at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.

The Chris So-trained four-year-old now has a record of 5 starts for 2 wins, 2 seconds and a fourth but his climb up the ratings ladder has been kept a manageable minimum with small margins and tight finishes. Even one of his seconds was by a nose.

On Wednesday night, Joao Moreira took Eighty Eighty to the lead from the start to finish but the victory wasn’t a straightforward as that makes it sound.

Mid-race another runner moved around to pressure him in the lead and left the son of Husson a sitting shot for late finishers and he looked in trouble when Golden Glory challenged at the 150m mark.

But Eighty Eighty fought back to win by a short head and, even if punters who took the short odds were nervous wrecks, So said that just holding on to win was full of merit.

“He showed a lot of courage I thought. That second section of the race, he was really made to work or I think he would have won more easily,” he said. “On the positive side, when he won last time he only went up 5 points and maybe he will only go up 5 points for this one too. So it keeps his down in the handicaps if he isn’t winning by far – it is just nervous to watch!” So said. “He is improving steadily and he already has a good looking record.”

That toughness in the finish is looking crucial for Eighty Eight, the trainer said, because he isn’t showing much dash over the sprint trips.

“He has some speed and was able to lead but he doesn’t have much turn of foot, so it was the right move to get to the front tonight,” he said. “And that kind of horse is really suited around Happy Valley so we will see but maybe he will stay here next time.”