David Hayes will plot a path towards the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) on December 11 after Super Wealthy created history at Sha Tin on Saturday (October 1) by becoming the first horse to win the Group 3 National Day Cup Handicap (1000m) twice.
Carrying 130lb, Super Wealthy provided Zac Purton with his first victory in the HKD$3.9 million feature, while Hayes celebrated his third success in the race after Prime Witness in 2003 and Super Wealthy last season.
Tracking the speed set by Harmony And Rich, Super Wealthy took the lead inside the final 100m, clocking 56.05s to down Cordyceps Six (123lb) by a neck, while Sky Field (135lb) was a further length away in third placing.
Elated with the performance of the Epaulette seven-year-old, Hayes immediately outlined plans to target the Group 2 BOCHK Private Banking Jockey Club Sprint (1200m) on November 20 as a defining dress rehearsal for the Hong Kong Sprint over the same distance the following month.
“He’s fully qualified for the international races. Last year we missed them and this year we might have a little try. We’ll run in the lead-up race three weeks before (the Hong Kong Sprint),” Hayes said.
“He’s had two runs now and that will be his third run, and then he’ll have his fourth run in the big one. A nice, gradual prep in gives him the best chance to be competitive. He’s an underrated sprinter, he’s top level – especially down the straight.
“It was only three weeks ago in the HKSAR Chief Executive’s Cup (Class 1, 1200m) that he went down on his nose and picked himself up and ran fourth. I would say he could win a top-level 1200m but I’d be more confident in a 1000m race.”
Purton, who leads Vincent Ho 13 wins to nine in the jockeys’ championship, produced a characteristically clinical ride on Super Wealthy.
“We drew the right side of the track and it was just a matter of getting him into the right rhythm. He began really well. The speed was nice early but it wasn’t electric like it can be and I suspected that in a small field,” the five-time Hong Kong champion jockey said.
“I just harnessed his enthusiasm through the first part of the race and let it unfold, just tried to bring him into the race at the right time and I knew he would be strong to the line. I had just had to wait for the gap and I had a horse good enough to take it. He was well prepared, he won this race last year, it’s not easy to go back-to-back. He’s gone up in the ratings, but David’s done a good job.”
Hayes and Purton joined forces in the following race when Oriental Smoke lugged 135lb to clinch the first section of the Class 3 Shanghai Handicap (1200m), enhancing his reputation as one of the city’s most talented and consistent performers.
“He’s been in the top three in Hong Kong in each of his nine starts and he’s done a wonderful job,” Hayes said of the Artie Schiller gelding. “He’s a really nice horse.”
Reigning champion trainer Frankie Lor continued to muster form with a double, while also producing the first three in the Class 2 Beijing Handicap (1600m) with Matthew Chadwick lifting All For St Paul’s to victory over Lor stablemates Money Catcher and Celestial Power.
Angus Chung earlier notched his first Hong Kong victory on turf after two previous successes on Sha Tin’s dirt when he controlled the tempo aboard Oscar Glory to land the Class 4 Nanning Handicap (1600m) for Lor.
Caspar Fownes successfully unveiled impressive Big Me, brilliant winner of the Class 4 Chongqing Handicap (1000m) under Luke Currie who kept his nerve after the Your Song gelding dwelt at the start.
“The horse has never given any indication (of tardiness out of the barrier), he’s been a thorough professional all the way through his prep,” Fownes said. “But, like anything, come race-day, a couple of them got fidgety, he put his head down at the wrong time, the guy pressed the button and lo and behold.
“He’s a nice horse. He’s always shown us that he’s got some potential and we hope he can keep improving. Of course, you’re always worried with these young horses when they get back out of their comfort zone.
Currie, celebrating his second victory of the season, said: “It was a nice win. He threw his head down just as the gates were about to open. It was his own fault. It was just one of those things.”
Pierre Ng posted his first Sha Tin success when Happy Sharing prevailed in the second section of the Class 3 Shanghai Handicap (1200m) for Luke Ferraris.
“Definitely very happy. We waited for seven meetings to do it at Sha Tin, so we’re just looking forward to getting more now,” Ng said of the achievement, as Ferraris added: “We had a great run, he’s beaten a good field. Credit to Pierre and his team. They had the horse in good condition today and hopefully he goes on.”
Alexis Badel piloted Beauty Tycoon in the Class 4 Chengdu Handicap (1200m) for John Size before Hong Kong International Sale graduate Perfect Peach broke through at his ninth attempt to snare the Class 4 Jinan Handicap (1400m) under Lyle Hewitson for Tony Cruz, who leads the trainers’ championship with seven wins for the campaign.
Hewitson took his tally to six wins for the term by teaming with Amazing Victory to land the Class 3 Tianjin Handicap (1400m) for Peter Ho, whose only runner for the day was the winner.
Vagner Borges registered his third win from 15 mounts this season with a faultless display to win the Class 5 Shenyang Handicap (1800m) for Chris So. Saving ground throughout, Borges hugged the rail before weaving through horses to deny This Is Charisma.