Double happiness for Yiu as King Acrylic and Ultra Fantasy deliver
Jockey Jeff Lloyd capped off a double for trainer Ricky Yiu Poon-fai with a beautifully rated front-running ride aboard Ultra Fantasy in the Lantau Peak Handicap (1,200m).
Ultra Fantasy's win came after stablemate King Acrylic claimed the Castle Peak Handicap (1,400m) for jockey Zac Purton earlier in the day, boosting Yiu's season tally to 17 in the process.
Lloyd was able to allow Ultra Fantasy a mid-race breather after the gelding travelled comfortably in the lead after jumping from the inside barrier.
'He just kept travelling within himself and I was able to hold off going for him in the straight until about 150m from home,' he said. 'It was a very brave and gutsy win with the heavy weight, and it is a real credit to Ricky for keeping just the right amount of freshness in him after the quick back-up from last week.'
Ultra Fantasy finished eighth behind Norman Invader at the Valley 11 days ago and was kept to slow work in the days since, in a bid to keep some freshness and speed in his legs.
'When they back up within a week they have the residual fitness from the run, but you don't want to train the speed out of horses like him,' Lloyd said. 'Ricky turned him out in peak condition and we got the right run for the horse to really show his best.'
Lloyd's New Year's Eve celebrations were low key, and he greeted the 2010 riding work yesterday morning before fulfilling his book of nine engagements - but he had a glint in his eye when he said he would make up for the missed revelry with his celebrations last night.
Yiu may well be in the mood to join him following his double, which was started by King Acrylic in race three.
'His rating was just about right today and every time he comes back to Class Four he is very competitive,' Yiu said. 'He spent almost all last season coming down in the ratings and as soon as he hits Class Four he is at his right level.'
He added: 'Ultra Fantasy had to carry 133 pounds, which I was a bit worried about before the race, but the draw helped him overcome the handicap. We must be doing something right with this horse because he has held his form throughout the preparation up until now.