'He can be a bit headstrong. But he has heaps of ability and he does it when
KINGSTON Treasure (2-1 favourite) took another massive stride along the road to glory with a fighting victory in the Piaget Gold Cup at Sha Tin last night.
Backing up less than a fortnight after putting a dent in the reputation of Fairy King Prawn by winning the Sha Tin Vase, the three-year-old held off the challenge of Special (16-1) and game Made To Figure (12-1) in the 1,400-metre event.
It was a big effort from Kingston Treasure, who has now won four of his five starts and was coming back to this trip from his Vase success over 1,600 metres.
The Piaget success will almost certainly gain further honours for the New Zealand-bred private purchase griffin, who is up against Toy Warrior for the Horse of the Year award in the griffin category at the Champions Awards night next Saturday.
South African ace Robbie Fradd is striking up a worthwhile partnership with Kingston Treasure and he had the grey out smartly and going well in front.
He said: 'He can be a bit headstrong and he is not always the easiest of horses. But he has heaps of ability and he does it when the chips are down. I suppose there was a slight worry about him backing up but he has not had that many runs and he has certainly earned his holiday now.' Special, who has been in largely indifferent form, might have made the finish even more interesting had he been able to get out and have a real crack at the winner.
Made To Figure, with claimer Philip C.T. Cheng, looked like he might provide another shock on the corner where he was travelling well for the maximum claimer.
But Fradd let Kingston Treasure slip away just after straightening and Cheng's cause was lost from that point on.
But the David Oughton-trained Pearce Memorial Cup winner still ran a fine race in defeat.
Championship, freshly blinkered and the first choice of the David Hayes stable, ran like a horse who has had enough and was never a threat while Danzighill (15-1), in the field late when Electronic Zone was withdrawn, gave plenty of cheek under Freddie Sanchez and eventually finished fourth.
Trainer Gary Ng Ting-keung has a quality galloper in his care and will spend part of the summer thinking positive thoughts about the future for the grey.
'I will talk to the owners, who are a syndicate, and see what we will do. I would have to think in terms of the Hong Kong Mile at the International Races if he keeps going on like this,' he said.
Fradd wrapped up another winning double when bottomweight Universal Star (9-1) obliged in the nightcap, easily accounting for Perfect Victory (10-1) and the useful River Dance, resuming after a long spell.
The double did little to keep the title race flickering as the most significant win of the night in relation to both championships came when Dragon Power (5-2 favourite) took the Class Four seventh event on the card.
That left Hayes poised to lift his second trainers' title as he is five clear, while Basil Marcus is now six clear of Frenchman Eric Saint-Martin in the jockeys' standings.
Senior local rider Jimmy K.H. Ting and long-time mentor Brian Kan Ping-chee had a well-publicised bust-up several months ago but time is a great healer and the one-time apprentice to the former champion trainer has been back on a number of horses recently.
The reunion was cemented in the second event when Super Connections (30-1) produced one of the night's major shocks by making all under Ting in the Class Five, 1,400-metre event.
His most recent form did not entitle him to much support but, when left alone in front, Super Connections can be dangerous.
Ting kept the four-year-old going and Super Connections actually lengthened stride midway down the straight to coast home by almost four lengths to Truly Delighted (6-1) with the 7-2 favourite Yoyo Express a well-beaten third.
It was Ting's fourth winner of the season and he said: 'I am very happy that my trainer has been giving me rides again. Super Connections loved the ground and nothing came to make it hard for him so we just kept going well.' Yoyo Express had been widely touted as a near certainty in Class Five but he was given every chance by Douglas Whyte and may well be correctly placed in this grade. He was going like a winner coming to the turn but found little while Super Connections found more than enough.
Another of the night's hot-pots was turned over in the Class Three fourth event when Red In Green (3-1) could only finish a neck and a head third to another front-runner in Honest Dragon (25-1).