O'Reilly Magic helps 'Kings' Prebble and Fownes reign as treble winners
The 'Kings of Happy Valley' - jockey Brett Prebble and trainer Caspar Fownes - continued their dominance of the midweek meetings by each securing yet another winning treble at last night's meeting.
Fownes and Prebble combined for a winning double with Victory Mascot and O'Reilly Magic - while each claimed separate wins to each rack up a three-timer.
'King of the Valley is not a tag I want, I want to win the big races at Sha Tin as well, but it's always great to win any race and I was very confident I was on some good chances tonight,' Prebble said.
Prebble had already won on Country Magic for trainer Tony Cruz before he combined with Fownes to win on O'Reilly's Magic and Victory Mascot.
'Brett rode O'Reilly's Magic exactly how I wanted him ridden, Victory Mascot was just too good tonight and is always very honest,' Fownes said.
'Victory Mascot is well suited by the 2,200 metre races at the Valley, but he can run a good race over the shorter distances as long as he gets a strong early tempo. O'Reilly's Magic has a terrific owner who has been very patient, and that has really been the making of the horse - now we can reap the rewards.'
Fownes secured the third win of his treble with Dumbarton Rock, who was too tough for his rivals over the 1,650m of the Chater Handicap and was driven to a gutsy victory by Douglas Whyte.
Country Magic was a late pick-up ride for Prebble, after suspended jockey Marco Chui Kwan-Lai had to forfeit the booking owing to a positive result from a urine sample taken after last week's Valley meeting.
Prebble used every bit of his strength to lift the Tony Cruz-trained gelding to a narrow victory over Destiny's Child and Season Linkz to claim the Edinburgh Handicap (1,200m) by a head.
Chui's punishment - whatever the result of his B sample - has already begun to increase, as the rider also missed out on claiming a winning double on the Cruz-trained stablemate, El Zonda, who saluted later in the programme with Jeff Lloyd in the saddle.
'It took a lot of jockeyship to get Country Magic to win tonight with his topweight and all credit should go to Brett,' Cruz said. 'El Zonda is also a very lucky horse; at the end of last season he had a very serious hoof infection and it was a matter of life or death for him for a little while. But again I must credit someone else; without the vet's great work he'd not be here to race again.'
Local trainer Me Tsui Yu-sak led in a winning double, care of some handy work by his jockey Johan Victoire - both on the track and in the Stewards' room.
Victoire lodged a successful objection with Stewards, who reversed the placings and declared Epee De Hua the winner of the Murray Handicap after the horse was initially beaten a nose on the line by Sammy's Fortune.
Sammy's Fortune, who was piloted by Olivier Doleuze, bumped into fourth place-getter Sugar On Top, who in turn caused interference to Victoire and Epee De Hua.
A gear change did the trick for the second of Tsui's winners, Carefree Midas, who was well rated by Jeff Lloyd after the trainer opted to use blinkers.
Meanwhile, the Danny Shum Chap-shing trained Grand Profit converted some improved trackwork sectionals into a convincing maiden win in the Connaught Handicap (1,200m) with jockey Howard Cheng Yue-tin driving the colt to a three-quarter length win over Happy Reunion.
Stewards had a busy night, dealing with two protests and handing down a two-day careless riding suspension for jockey Douglas Whyte for his ride on beaten favourite Tai Sing Yeh, which he will commence after Chinese New Year on February 16. Stipes also gave jockey Keith Yueng Ming-lun a three-meeting suspension for his ride on runner-up Destiny's Child in the Edinburgh Handicap, which will begin after the meeting on February 3.