Chadwick eclipses Cheng's benchmark
Another day, another double, another Jockey Challenge. However, the script was far from boring for apprentice Matthew Chadwick as his two-timer saw him surge into third place in the standings and register a new record figure for junior riders.
Howard Cheng Yue-tin formerly held the season record of 37 wins, set during his apprenticeship to champion trainer David Hayes in 2000-01. Chadwick went into the meeting equal with Cheng and claimed the record outright with his win on Majestic Heart in the second race, before moving further into uncharted territory with win number 39 on Beauty Flash in the ninth event for his boss, Tony Cruz.
Beauty Flash has been a late-season revelation for the Cruz yard, with owner Simon Kwok Siu-ming having raced the chestnut in New Zealand before importing him with the hope that he'll prove his next top-grade racer.
Beauty Flash had brilliantly won a maiden by five lengths at Tauranga, New Zealand, when having only his third start.
'I think this horse has a lot of potential, and he certainly earned some kudos today with the way he raced,' Cruz said.
When Beauty Flash won on his Hong Kong debut three weeks ago, he missed the start by almost a length and settled with only two horses behind him. Yesterday, the three-year-old began brilliantly from barrier 14 and crossed to race outside the leader.
Cruz gave Chadwick two possible game plans. 'I told Matthew that if the horse breaks cleanly, then he could go forward but if he began like he did the other day, he'd have to restrain and go back,' Cruz said.
'But I have to admit I didn't expect him to be racing up second, on the outside of Aashiq.'
Chadwick noted while Beauty Flash went strongly to the line to score by three-quarters of a length from Aashiq (Jeff Lloyd), the gelding had been more impressive at his first start.
'I think by using him in the early stages of the race, it's taken away from his finishing speed. Ideally, I'd like to be able to ride him a little bit more quietly,' he said. 'But when he began so well, and thinking Aashiq was the main danger, I thought it was the right thing to let him go forward.'
Cruz is hoping Beauty Flash will make it to the top grade next season.
'He's won on a 79 rating today, so he'll return next season in Class Two,' Cruz said. 'But I won't be in a hurry to get him to the big races. One race at a time is the way I'll go. But the way he races and with his breeding, I'm sure he'll be getting a good bit further than today's 1,400 metres.'
The statistics of the Chadwick phenomenon are being rewritten every week. Yesterday, the 19-year-old landed two winners, three seconds from and a third from 10 rides to comfortably land the Jockey Challenge from Zac Purton.
With 39 wins from 254 rides, he's overtaken Olivier Doleuze and Darren Beadman and moved to third in the standings.