Hong Kong News

Bentley notches Happy Valley double as Shum shines with a brace

Harry Bentley notched a double at Happy Valley on Wednesday night with Eighteen Palms (El Roca) and Watch Buddy (Rothesay) as the Englishman continued to build crucial impetus at the mid-season point of the Hong Kong racing season.

Bentley struck with Eighteen Palms in the Class 3 Hong Kong Park Handicap (1650m) for Danny Shum before producing a nerveless display on Ricky Yiu’s Watch Buddy to clinch the second section of the Class 3 Victoria Park Handicap (1200m).

“It’s obviously great to get a double, whether it’s here or Sha Tin – they always mean a lot,” Bentley said after boosting his tally of wins for the season to 14. “I’m very happy. I’ve ridden two nice horses. Watch Buddy is a very generous horse, he’s got a big heart.

“I was always very comfortable with how I was going and I thought I had the leader Healthy Healthy covered a long way out but, fair play to that horse, he really battled it out with me and two big-hearted horses going at each other – a proper race.”

Bentley scored in the previous race to present Shum with a brace. Shum earlier combined successfully with Alexis Badel and Romantic Fantasy (Fascinating Rock) in the Class 4 Fa Hui Park Handicap (2200m). The four-year-old held a short head margin over Sharpen Bright (Redwood) with Serangoon (Ilovethiscity) a further short head away in third.

Sugar Sugar’s (Star Turn) consistency for Caspar Fownes was rewarded when Alfred Chan closed a competitive meeting when he drove the Star Turn (Star Witness) gelding along the fence to land the first section of the Victoria Park Handicap (1200m) to clinch his fourth win over the track and distance after notching three minor placings this season.

Dan Attack (Deep Field), a Hong Kong International Sale graduate, proved too strong in the first section of the Class 4 Kowloon Park Handicap (1200m) under Antoine Hamelin as Jamie Richards continued a strong season at the city circuit.

The Deep Field (Northern Meteor) gelding, benefiting from a ground-saving ride, was too strong in breaking through at his seventh start to reward the stable’s patience, giving Richards his 13th win at Happy Valley for the season and 17 overall.

“He’s been a very frustrating horse. He’s always shown a lot of ability,” Richards said.

“The boys at home have done a wonderful job with him because he hasn’t been the easiest. It’s very rewarding when you get a horse to win that you’ve always thought a bit of and that has under-performed. Time and patience, it’s a wonderful thing.”

Super Joy N Fun (What’s The Story) made an impressive debut with a narrow victory in the second section of the Class 4 Kowloon Park Handicap (1200m) for Benno Yung. The three-year-old continued Jerry Chau’s strong season in scoring by a head.

Lovero, a Lord Kanaloa (King Kamehameha) gelding, broke through at his fifth start for Tony Cruz, snaring the Class 4 Morse Park Handicap (1650m) under Angus Chung as Medic Elite (Zacinto) continued a remarkably consistent season with an easy victory in the second section of the Class 5 Shan Kwong Road Park Handicap (1650m) for Pierre Ng.

Presenting Zac Purton with his 63rd success of the season, the gelding added a second win this term to three minor placings from ten starts.

Chris So delivered his first success United Endeavors (Headwater) with victory in the first section of the Class 5 Shan Kwong Road Park Handicap (1650m) under Keith Leung. Formerly trained by Peter Ho, the Headwater gelding notched his first win since July, 2022.

Hong Kong racing continues at Sha Tin on Monday with the Chinese New Year Race Day.

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