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G3 Queen Mother Memorial Cup glory for Butterfield, Danny Shum and Matthew Poon

May 3, 2021, 7:46:04 AM

Danny Shum's bid for a maiden trainers' championship is likely to include a double-handed run in the G1 Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup (2400m) in three weeks, following a memorable quinella in the G3 Queen Mother Memorial Cup Handicap (2400m) with Butterfield and Charity Fun at Sha Tin on Sunday (2 May).

Shum came to within touching distance of his career-high count of 54 (in 2015/16) when Matthew Poon piloted Butterfield (122lb) to triumph over stablemate Charity Fun (113lb) and Alexis Badel. Shum is joint fourth in the trainers' title with 51 victories, behind John Size (59), Caspar Fownes (58), and Frankie Lor (53).

With just a short head separating Shum's charges – and Reliable Team (117lb) only a head away in third – it was one of the race's tightest finishes in its history, amid a pedestrian pace that saw South American-bred Butterfield clock 2m 28.14s – almost two seconds slower than normal.

Shum was unconcerned about the slow pace, and he is now planning a similar attack on the final G1 of the 2020/21 season, the Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup (2400m).

“Certainly, Butterfield. Charity Fun's owner wants to compete in the race, but I need to see if he pulls up,” Shum said, adding that Poon will most likely be expected to ride Francis Lui's Glorious Dragon.

With 20 meetings remaining in the season, Shum is locked in a tie for first place in the trainers' championship with four formidable rivals.
“I still try, it's tough – but you never know,” he said of Poon's calculated trip on an established stayer.

“I thought he had a chance. I told Matthew to jump, place him on the fence, and finish when you can catch him with protection. We knew he could withstand the distance based on his overseas track record.”

Butterfield won the 2018 G1 Derby Paulista (2400m) in his home country of Brazil before being sent to Hong Kong.
Shum was also pleased with Charity Fun, who nearly won a G3 in his first season in Hong Kong after winning his first race – a Class 3 – in February.

“He did an excellent job. He's in good shape and is happy. Shum described him as "highly competitive."
Poon increased his season tally to 28 wins as BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) placegetters Panfield (121lb) and Russian Emperor (124lb) finished fifth and seventh, respectively.

With a double, Joao Moreira extended his lead in the jockeys' championship. The Brazilian won the Class 4 Norman Conqueror Handicap (1600m) on Tony Millard's Ultra Express before cruising to victory in the Class 3 Insular Handicap on Frankie Lor's Looking Great (1800m).

Karis Teetan's double on The Hulk in the second segment of the Class 3 Game Spirit Handicap (1200m) for Caspar Fownes and Lor's Jade Phoenix to win the Class 4 Manicou Handicap (1200m).

In his 13th start in Hong Kong, the Per Incanto gelding broke through after a disappointing stretch of four seconds, four thirds, and a fourth.

Richard Gibson compared Cordyceps Six's win in the Argonaut Plate (1000m) for Griffins to Wellington's G1 victory in the FWD Champion's Sprint Prize (1200m) a week earlier in terms of satisfaction.

“You would be shocked to learn that wins like this give me as much joy as the victory with Wellington last week. It just goes to prove that the stable knows how to handle young horses,” Gibson exclaimed after the Star Turn gelding landed at 107-1.

“I believe this is my first two-year-old champion in Hong Kong. On debut, the horse ran really well but was only ridden on-pace. He learned his lesson, and it was a fantastic victory.

“It was a fantastic ride by Tony because the horse was green in the final stages, and Tony made all the difference.”

David Hayes' impressive late-season surge began as newcomer Ka Ying Spirit fought back to win the Class 4 Isle Of Man Handicap (1000m) under Zac Purton.

Hayes put the Rubick gelding to seven trials before his debut this afternoon.
“He was just quite green his first few trials, especially in Conghua,” Hayes said. “At the 300-metre mark, Zac felt he was going to win comfortably, but when it came time to go, he was a little confused. He was staring at the stars, and it was a relief to win.”

Hayes expected a promising future for Fantastic Treasure after he preserved his undefeated record with a fourth consecutive win for Chad Schofield, who powered the brilliant youngster to victory in the Class 3 Inch Arran Handicap (1400m).

“I think he's a very progressive horse,” said Hayes, who now has 24 wins for the season. “I believe he'll have one more run this season and potentially pick up his fifth title. He's the kind of horse I'd like to ride in next year's Hong Kong Classic Mile. He has a lot of potential. Chad said that it was his simplest victory.”

Mcmunigal, trained by David Ferraris, set a new class record in winning the Class 5 Special Cargo Handicap (2000m), clocking 2m 01.58s under a splendid Jerry Chau ride to secure his third victory in Hong Kong in 27 attempts.

McMunigal outperformed Gorgeous Again by two hundredths of a second.

Derek Leung is set to break his personal record of 37 winners in a season after Love Me More, another promising Sacred Falls filly, won the Class 4 Monaveen Handicap (1400m) for Ricky Yiu.

Leung, 32, now has a total of 36 wins for the year.

Alexis Badel and Chris So combined with Decisive Twelve in the first section of the Class 3 Game Spirit Handicap (1200m).

Hong Kong racing continues at Happy Valley on Wednesday (5 May).