Perfect Glory in the cup as Fownes scores a treble

 Oct 12 2018

The rare demotion of not one but two winners for interference at Sha Tin on Sunday meant that there was a here-we-go-again sigh from the crowd when a line of six contenders bunched and bumped inside the final 100 metres of the night’s trophy race. 

This time, though, the winner was beyond reproach. Perfect Glory’s momentum powered him through the trouble to pass the post first under Chad Schofield.

“I established a run early in the straight and while I was in that run I got the interference –it actually twisted my horse’s hind quarters and directed me out,” Schofield said.  

“Luckily I was coming through that run at such a quick rate that I skipped on through and he ended up winning quite comfortably. He was very relaxed in the run and he was very strong the last 200 (metres).”

It was a winning Hong Kong debut for 17/1 shot Perfect Glory, whose pre-import record in Australia stands at three wins from three runs.

“It was a good effort first up, especially over a distance that’s a bit sharp for him,” Fownes said. “We’re very happy, he’s a nice horse and he looks to have a decent future – he’ll take a lot of benefit from that first run.

“He’s got a big engine; he’s proved that today and hopefully we can keep going forward.”

Fownes teamed with his former apprentice Vincent Ho to bookend the card. Ho continued his fine form with an all-the-way win on the lightly-weighted Po Ching Treasure in the Class 4 opener, and made it seven wins for the campaign when The Judge nicked the finale by a nose.

“I felt he was going to get there until the last 100 (metres) – he wasn’t giving me the same feeling and it was hard but he got there!” Ho said of The Judge. 

“I’m getting a lot of support from trainers – the boss, Francis (Lui), Me Tsui, Manfred (Man) and David Hall. That gives me confidence and every summer when I go to Europe I learn something else – I keep improving.”  

Dead-heat as The Show dips late

It was a night of close calls with three races decided by a short-head or less. But in Hong Kong dead-heats don’t come along too often, so when The Show’s muzzle dipped as Regency Honey’s rose in the final stride of the night’s second contest, the Valley crowd drew a collective gasp. 

The slow-motion replay suggested a dead-heat: the board confirmed it.

“It doesn’t get any tighter!” co-winning jockey Zac Purton said. “I wasn’t sure if I won because we hit the line with our heads out of sync – his was coming down.”

The champion rider booted the Danny Shum-trained Regency Honey (120lb) for home at the top of the straight only to have the Eddy Lai-ridden The Show (124lb) peg him in the nick of time.

“I thought I’d won but after the finish I asked Zac and he said he’d won, so then I waited to see,” Lai said.

Lai, 44, landed his third win of the campaign on the Dennis Yip-trained eight-year-old and that placed him within two wins of last season’s overall total. The Jockey Club’s Licensing Committee informed Lai in June that his performance this season would be “closely monitored” as a result of the rider struggling with low returns in recent seasons.

“I’m very happy with the way things are going this season, much better than the last two years,” he said. “I haven’t changed my approach; I’m just working hard like I always do and hopefully I’ll get some rewards. Dennis Yip has supported me a lot, so I’m very thankful for that.”

At the top end of the jockeys’ premiership, Purton maintained a three-win gap over Karis Teetan. The champion sealed a double aboard the Michael Chang-trained Saul’s Special in the Class 2 Verbena Handicap (1000m).

Ferraris 400

David Ferraris hit a landmark in race three, the Class 4 Dianthus Handicap (1650m). Ultimate Dream stormed home under Teetan to give the South African handler his 400th Hong Kong victory.

Ferraris, 55, arrived in Hong Kong ahead of the 2002/03 season and is best known in these parts as the man behind champion galloper Vengeance Of Rain. Tonight’s win was his third this season, all of which have been achieved at the city track.

“Every winner is something to celebrate – it’s not easy in this place – so you just enjoy these wins when they come. I suppose it’s come at a good time,” he said.

“Those of us who train at Olympic Stables need support. There’s this rumour, this mindset, about the stables being no good, but you don’t get better facilities than that. The last two seasons have shown that I’m happy to work there and I wouldn’t move back to the old stables if you paid me to.”

Ferraris has 41 horses in his yard at present with a further 10 imports in quarantine. “We’re getting there slowly,” he added. 

Teetan continued his pursuit of Purton in the jockeys’ standings. The Mauritian doubled up aboard the Tony Cruz-trained Blitzing in race five to end the night on 13 wins to Purton’s 16.

Chris So, meanwhile, put the saddle on Lunar Zephyr in race four and past champion Douglas Whyte did the rest, driving the Commands gelding to a 17/1 score in the 1000m Class 4.

Hong Kong racing returns at Sha Tin on Saturday, 13 October.



David Morgan

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