Fownes, Size trade blows but Me Tsui takes Happy Valley honours
June 25, 2021, 8:52:26 AM
Caspar Fownes maintains his lead in the Hong Kong trainers' championship fight with John Size after the two title hopefuls split a win each on a doubles-heavy program at Happy Valley on Wednesday (23 June).
As Fownes and Size preserved the status quo, leaving Fownes with a seven-win lead with six meetings remaining, Me Tsui earned the night's training honors with Sky Treasure and Telecom Fighters, climbing into the top eight on the trainers' table.
Size, the 11-time champion, cut the lead to a half-dozen when Wild West Wing stormed late for Karis Teetan to beat Super Commander in the Class 4 Magazine Gap Handicap (1000m), but Fownes responded immediately with Green Luck in the Class 2 Bowen Handicap (1000m) (1650m).
Green Luck's affinity with the 1650m course at the city circuit – where all six of the Australian import's victories have occurred – was highlighted by Fownes, who leads Size 75-68.
“That horse has done really well at this track. “When the rain arrived today, he likes that kind of weather, so I was overjoyed,” Fownes added. “He's done a fantastic job for us; I'm really proud of him and delighted for the owners.
“That's about it for him now (for 2020/21) - we can't expect much more development from him because he's growing older. But he's been a really nice horse for connections, and he's now in the triple digits. It's a commendable accomplishment.”
Joao Moreira, who got a double to equal Teetan and Vincent Ho, also mentioned Green Luck's fondness for Happy Valley.
“He simply likes it here, and he appreciates getting a little bit of the sting out of the track,” the Brazilian explained. “I never doubted his ability to win. He gave me hope that he'd win at the top of the straight.
“He's a great horse, and I know he's not getting any younger, but I'm confident he'll win more races.”
Teetan, brimming with confidence after a four at Happy Valley's previous meeting, won the opening part of the Class 4 Middle Gap Handicap riding Sky Treasure on Wednesday evening (1200m).
“He startled me a little,” Tsui said. “He had an easier time winning in Class 4 than he did in Class 5. It was enjoyable.”
Moreira led Telecom Fighters to victory in the Class 3 Kennedy Handicap, giving Tsui a hat trick (1650m).
“He enjoys Happy Valley,” Tsui added, referring to The Brothers War gelding's third victory at the course and distance in four attempts. “At Sha Tin, the straight is too lengthy for him. It's wonderful for him in Happy Valley.”
Fa Fa, trained by Frankie Lor, continued his good run with a win in the Class 4 Robinson Handicap (1650m), his second victory in six appearances.
“He should've won last start - if he had utilized him a little sooner, I think he would've won, but that's racing,” Lor said of the He's Remarkable gelding. “I believe the horse has room to grow. He can move up to Class 3 and pick up several wins. He's just three, so perhaps after the off-season break, he'll be even better.
“I have no objections to either Happy Valley or Sha Tin. He can run a mile or 1800m in no time.”
Francis Lui's Spicy Grill won the Class 5 Stubbs Handicap (1200m) under Ho at the 15th try, confirming the trainer's position.
“I believed he'd be well suited to Happy Valley with the short straight, and he ran nicely,” Lui remarked following his 57th victory of the season. “We'll see how he pulls up, and maybe he'll be able to come back for another race.”
Noble Desire's victory in the second portion of the Class 4 Middle Gap Handicap (1200m) under Jerry Chau was attributable to the horse's breakthrough success on the city circuit in May, according to Douglas Whyte.
“The win last month did him a lot of good, and he's definitely acquired a lot of confidence,” Whyte said.
“It all came down to their being a cut in the ground tonight, and with all of this rain - being near Footstepsinthesand, he enjoys dipping his toe in.
“This is the first time he's showed some speed, toughness, and a kick. That was heartening.
“He's done a wonderful job; to race him again now would be a disservice to the horse. He did an excellent job.”
Benno Yung's Jolly Good Heart won the Class 3 Caine Handicap (1200m) for Alexis Badel, giving Benno Yung's Jolly Good Heart a second consecutive victory over the city circuit's 1200m course.
David Hall's Classic Posh won the second half of the Class 3 Caine Handicap, giving Harry Bentley his third victory of the season (1200m).
On Saturday, racing in Hong Kong resumes at Sha Tin (26 June).