Namjong Fighters brings some seasonal cheer for Hall and father
Trainer David Hall had a new suit and his father present at Sha Tin yesterday to bring some Christmas luck to the stable, but he had to wait until the final event to get the result.
Hall gave himself only a light day's work for the meeting preceding the festive season, saddling up just two runners, Handsome Target and Namjong Fighters, but it was all he needed for some Christmas cheer.
Joe Hall was a trainer himself in Adelaide for many years - finishing second to David Hayes' legendary father, Colin, in his best championship season - but was clearly thrilled to be on hand to see his son win with Namjong Fighters (Eric Saint-Martin).
'Dad's brought the luck with him for Christmas,' beamed Hall after Namjong Fighters charged down the centre of the track to break his maiden status in Hong Kong after seven starts.
'Actually, I'm tickled pink to win with this horse because he's one I bought as a yearling, raced him in Australia and now I've won with him here for some very good owners. It's always satisfying to have taken a horse right the way through like that.'
Hall, who has already won with Namjong Goodluck this season for the same family, believes the best is yet to come for Namjong Fighters as he is still quite green in his racing habits.
'He hasn't been the easiest horse so far, he's not very tractable between horses under pressure,' Hall (pictured) said. 'I have thought about blinkers but I don't want to use them too soon - I would rather that he learns by himself before we start to try gear changes on him.'
Hall's instructions to Saint-Martin were clear - to ride the horse quietly early then get Namjong Fighters to the outside. And the French ace followed it to the letter to swoop home late past Enchanted.
'Getting him to the outside today definitely made a difference, but then when he gets out there he can run away from the other horses,' Hall said.
'He isn't straightforward at this stage but hasn't had a lot of racing. But I do think he's improving. With more experience, I hope that he will get it right.'