Double delight for Wong - and Whyte chips in
Long-serving trainer Wong Tang-ping was last night celebrating an opening-day double, with South African newcomer Douglas Whyte delighted to have partnered one of them.
Ping struck with Fireball (6-4 favourite) in the third event and wrapped up the first day's proceedings when Red Jeans (10-1) scored an upset win in the final event.
Fireball raised the excitement levels on the course when he came from midfield to completely blitz a full field of Class Four gallopers in the 1,600-metre event.
It was the dream start for new boy Whyte, who is here for three months as a Club jockey.
But he had to work on the winner, even though the eventual result was an emphatic victory which spoke of more to come.
'He is going to be better over longer but I had to keep him to the task in the middle stages because I didn't want him to get too far back,' Whyte said.
'I used the whip on him at the turn.
'But once he saw daylight in the straight he just went straight past them.
'He had worked well and Mr Wong had done plenty with him, so it wasn't a surprise.' His happy trainer has also no doubts about future races for the youngster - but he won't be rushing him.
'It was a good win and now the pressure's off because the owners have had success,' Ping said.
'I want to take my time with him because he is only three.
'I have no doubt at all that he will be going further - and needs more distance - but I do not want to rush him.' Elite (7-1) finished almost three lengths adrift of the winner but ran down Sunnyland (6-1) in the last 50 metres to snare the quinella spot.
The acceleration of the winner in the straight was highly impressive and Fireball seems destined to make his mark in better company.
Red Jeans was considered something of an unlucky horse by his trainer last season but the four-year-old stamped his authority all over the 1,400-metre Classes One and Two ninth event.
'He needed the fast pace and when he got it Red Jeans had to be a chance,' said Ping.
'He ran on very well and it makes up for a couple of disappointments last season.'