Vincent Ho on the cusp of 500 Hong Kong wins as Matthew Chadwick slots treble
Catapulting Vincent Ho to the brink of 500 Hong Kong wins, Gold Gold Baby (Warrior’s Reward) continued a meteoric rise with a devastating victory in the second section of the Class 3 Russell Handicap (1200m) at Happy Valley last night.
Gold Gold Baby has now won five of seven starts at the city circuit this season, rising from a rating of 38 to 70 before last night’s success while earning HK$3.81 million (approx. AU$734,530) for Francis Lui and Ho, who has 498 Hong Kong wins – and is on the verge of joining Tony Cruz (946) as the only home-grown jockeys to ride 500 winners or more in the jurisdiction.
Deflecting attention from his imminent milestone, Ho focused on Gold Gold Baby, who unleashed trademark blistering acceleration and weaved his way past tiring rivals to down Xponential (Equiano) after being second-last at the top of the straight.
“Last time, he was a bit unlucky. He got a check but he got a smooth run tonight,” Ho, 32, said. “When everything goes smoothly, he will give a good turn of foot. Even at Sha Tin, he can do it too, but at Happy Valley with his short sprint, he’s suited better.”
Ho and Lui have combined for 21 wins this season, a haul which includes Brave Star’s (Myboycharlie) success in the first section of the Class 3 Russell Handicap (1200m), the gelding’s second win over the course and distance this season.
Making up for lost time after being sidelined for almost two months with injury in December and January, Matthew Chadwick dominated with victories on Kowloon East Star (Zoustar), Young Victory (Smart MIssile) and Pegasus General (Vettori) to take his season’s tally to 25 wins.
“The horses have been running well. I’m happy with the way things went tonight. I had those leg injuries and, after I came back and I was feeling good, I had an accident at the trials where I hurt my shoulder,” Chadwick, who has 486 career wins in Hong Kong, said.
“That [injury)] put me on the back foot again so it just hasn’t been smooth this season but things worked out tonight and hopefully I can keep running the same way and keep going forward.”
Kowloon East Star defied top weight of 135lb and barrier ten after speeding to the front and fending off Raging Blaze (Iffraaj) and Tronic Mighty (Headwater) to claim the Class 5 Bowrington Handicap (1000m) for Manfred Man.
The win was the gelding’s second in 17 Hong Kong starts.
Chadwick extended his spree with a brilliant ride on Chris So’s Young Victory to land the first section of the Class 4 Canal Handicap (1650m) after starting from the outside gate.
“Before the race, I didn’t have much confidence because we had barrier 12 but Matthew gave him a great ride,” So said. “He saved ground all the way and was on the rail as soon as he could get there. Then he was able to help him produce his best over the last 300 metres. It’s very pleasing to get a win for the Hong Kong Jockey Club Racing Club owners.”
Jimmy Ting’s Pegasus General delivered the third leg of Chadwick’s treble, prevailing in a desperate finish to the Class 3 Percival Handicap (1800m). Defeating Satirical Glory (So You Think) by a head, with a nose to Tianchi Monster (Shocking) in third, Pegasus General won a Group 1 over 1600 metres in Brazil in 2021 when known as Uttori.
Douglas Whyte and Lyle Hewitson combined for the 12th time this season when King Of The Court (Al Maher) cruised forward from his outside gate before controlling the race to claim the second section of the Class 4 Canal Handicap (1650m).
“It was always the intention to go forward from the wide gate [barrier 12] and it was the plan to stay wide and by the time we had passed the winning post, he had crossed and then he got some cheap sectionals and he quickened up well,” Whyte said.
“It was a bit of a gamble to run him over 1650 metres but he hasn’t got the turn of foot in a 1200-metre race.”
Super Vince (Brazen Beau) snared the Class 4 Craigengower Cricket Club Challenge Cup Handicap (1200m) for Frankie Lor and Karis Teetan, notching his first win in Hong Kong. Formerly known as Corvino when trained by Michael Kent in Australia, the gelding had been unplaced in six previous starts since joining Lor’s stable.
Benno Yung and Jerry Chau continued a flourishing partnership when Son Pak Fu (Fighting Sun) nailed a second consecutive win in the first section of the Class 4 Leighton Handicap (1200m). The victory was Yung and Chau’s eighth in tandem for the season.
Hugh Bowman closed the programme in style by piloting Handsome Bo Bo (Helmet) to victory in the Class 2 Wong Nai Chung Handicap (1000m). Now eight, the gelding’s eighth win at his 53rd start pushed his Hong Kong earnings past HK$13 million (approx. AU$2.5 million).