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Matthew Chadwick primed for LONGINES IJC with Happy Valley treble as Jamie Richards lands a double

December 1, 2022 at 4:45:31 AM

Preparing for the LONGINES International Jockeys’ Championship (IJC) next week, Matthew Chadwick snared riding honours with a treble at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (30 November) as Rewarding Together smashed the 1200m course record.

Chadwick’s three-timer could scarcely have been timelier ahead of the LONGINES IJC on Wednesday, 7 December, when Ryan Moore, Hollie Doyle, Jamie Kah, Zac Purton, James McDonald, Yuga Kawada, Tom Marquand, Mickael Barzalona, Jye McNeil, Vincent Ho and Silvestre de Sousa square off in the four-race series.

“It’s all about the opportunities, it’s a tough game,” Chadwick said. “I had some nice chances tonight and they’ve run well. I’m happy with the way things have gone and I just want to keep it going.”

With success on Caspar Fownes’ Bright Kid and Tony Cruz’s California Deeply, Chadwick crowned a highly productive evening with Frankie Lor’s Rewarding Together’s blistering performance in the Class 2 Glasgow Handicap (1200m).

Bettering Harmony And Rich’s mark of 1m 08.46s set in September last year with a 1m 08.26s gallop, Rewarding Together slotted his sixth victory over the 1200m course.

“He ran second to Lucky Sweynesse from a bad draw last season, so that was obviously a good performance,” Chadwick said. “They ran along tonight and from his good draw (barrier one), he was able find a length in the straight. It was a good win.”

Chadwick’s patience was pivotal on Bright Kid in the Class 4 Parkhead Handicap (2200m), delighting Fownes.

“It was nice to see him win after he was beaten a short head last start, we stretched him out to 2200m and he did a great job,” Fownes said of the eight-year-old’s fourth Hong Kong success. “He’s not getting any younger, so it’s great to see him winning.”

Three-year-old Deep Field gelding California Deeply responded strongly to Chadwick’s urgings to overhaul Pretty Queen Prawn in a desperate finish to earn a HK$1 million PP Bonus by winning the Class 3 St Andrew’s Challenge Quaich Handicap (1000m).

Chadwick’s excellent display came as Jamie Richards logged his first Hong Kong double with perfect timing, while Luke Currie ended a frustrating run of outs as the pair celebrated confidence-boosting success.

Richards, 33, arrived in Hong Kong in April to rave reviews after a record-breaking career in New Zealand but, after a quiet start, the measured Kiwi had only one win from his first 51 starters.

Victories in the space of five races on Wednesday night by Tronic Mighty and Rattan Kingdom changed all that – and the flush of success was even more enjoyable with Richards’ parents Paul and Leanne, his sister Libby and her partner Cameron watching on at Happy Valley.

“I’m thrilled to get the double tonight. It’s great to have the family here and I’m thrilled to get a winner while they’re here. They might have to stay a bit longer – they’ve brought the change of luck,” Richards said.

“The team have been working hard, putting in plenty of hours at the stables, so I’m thrilled for everybody concerned. The owners have been supportive, so hopefully we can start to build a little bit of momentum.

“I fully respect how difficult it is to win a race here in Hong Kong. We haven’t had a lot of runners yet and we lack a little bit of quality in the stable.

“It’s great to get a win with Rattan Kingdom. Obviously, he’s been a bit unlucky, he’s drawn a couple of bad barriers. He’s been consistent throughout the early part of the season and today he drew a gate and he was able to get the job done for us. Luke gave him a lovely ride, very pleased with the way Luke rode him.”

For Currie, victory on Rattan Kingdom in the first section of the Class 4 Ibrox Handicap (1200m), delivered overdue relief and his fourth winner of the campaign.

“By my own admission, I haven’t been riding great – some of the chances I had, I’ve been trying to do different things and sometimes it’s better to stick to what you know. It’s been a tough little bit but hopefully this can help turn it,” said Currie, who inherited the ride on Rattan Kingdom after Zac Purton tested positive to COVID-19.

“Here, you need to adapt to the style a bit but I’ve been probably trying a little bit too hard.”

Tronic Mighty laid the foundations for Richards’ brace with success under Keith Yeung in the Class 5 Bellahouston Handicap (1000m).

Extending a stunning return to Hong Kong, Hugh Bowman slotted a double and maintained his record of winning at least one race at each of the four meetings he has competed at so far.

Following victory atop Danny Shum’s Flying Silver in the Class 5 Queen’s Park Handicap (1800m), Bowman closed the meeting with an outstanding display on Fownes-trained Nearly Fine to land the Class 3 Isle Of Skye Handicap (1800m).

Weaving his way from the tail of the field, Bowman registered his sixth win from just 31 rides since returning to Hong Kong.

Francis Lui’s High Rise Soldier survived an objection before being declared the winner of the second section of the Class 4 Ibrox Handicap (1200m) under Vincent Ho. The Snitzel gelding, who won twice in Australia as Lion’s Head before export, has three victories from 41 starts in Hong Kong – all over the city circuit’s 1200m course.

Hong Kong racing continues at Sha Tin on Sunday afternoon (4 December).

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