Youngsters do the business for Shum
Danny Shum Chap-shing's stable has emerged from a rough patch but will end the season on a positive note, landing Triumphant Diamond last week, before adding an impressive double yesterday with two progressive New Zealand private purchases.
Shum lifted the Members Cup over the straight 1,000 metres with the striking High Mark, a son of the Danehill stallion Monolith, and then took the final event for Class Three horses with the untapped three-year-old Quick Touch.
In the absence of jockey Eric Saint-Martin, who is in the final stages of an eight meeting stretch incurred through an improper riding charge, Darren Beadman was given the responsibility of guiding High Mark (HK$65.50), while Howard Cheng Yue-tin did his usual professional job for the trainer on Quick Touch (HK$48).
Cheng described Faltaat gelding Quick Touch as 'a very nice horse' before adding - 'it's just a shame I won't be on him next start, he's Eric's ride, so for me he was a one-day story. I was just pleased to fill in.'
Quick Touch had raced only four times before the breakthrough, earning the praise of his trainer for his honesty and consistency.
'He's only raced so far at 1,000 and 1,200 metres but he's run well each time and never run a bad race,' Shum said.
'I thought he had showed enough to prove that he's capable of winning at this rating  and that the step up in distance today to 1,400 metres would help him.'
Shum said Quick Touch was 'not particularly impressive' in his three starts in New Zealand, where he had won a maiden at the provincial track of Pukekura last September.
'He seemed to be a good type of horse and these Faltaat horses go well in Hong Kong, they often get better as they get older,' Shum said.
'That was the thing I was hoping for - that he would be one of those Faltaat's that improves as he matures.'
With High Mark, brilliant debut winner over the minimum distance, Shum had backed the judgment of Macau-based trainer and agent Tommy Cheung.
'The race he won in New Zealand wasn't a maiden,' Shum continued, 'it was an open three-year-old race and the second horse had won three races. The thing I particularly liked about it was that he looked like he'd be beaten but hit the line very strongly in the final few strides. I thought he looked a racehorse.'
Shum was not the only person to see the potential in High Mark and the price corresponded with his superior ability.
'He was a very expensive horse - he cost HK$2 million,' Shum said. 'It's a lot of money but I was very lucky that [owner] Mrs Cynthia Pong was happy to back my judgment. She said to me 'if you like him that much, go and buy him'.'
Beadman said High Mark gave him 'a really good feel' but warned that the three-year-old is not entirely clean winded.
'He can make a noise when he pulls up after gallops and that was why I advised Danny to kick him off in a straight 1,000 metres race,' Beadman said. 'But he's a nice horse, with a good action, and he should be able to win better races.'