Yiu beauty! Treble, Kingdom cap great day
A highlight finish to the final Sha Tin meeting of the season capped a memorable year for trainer Ricky Yiu Poon-fai, who bagged a treble with three promising youngsters before his world-beating sprinter Sacred Kingdom was crowned Horse of the Year.
Yiu opened the account early with a win from Romantic City and quickly deposited Outdoor Pegasus and Lunar Reflections in the winner's bank before the day was out.
Zac Purton, who did much of the barrier trial work with Romantic City before his debut race, was back in the saddle of the Elusive City gelding yesterday and made full use of his explosive early speed to cruise to a comfortable 21/2-length win over the hot-pot favourite Hot Shot.
'It was a great finish to the season to get a few winners at the last Sha Tin meeting,' Yiu said.
'Romantic City is a very fast horse and once he accelerates he really has a huge stride.
'Zac allowed him to use his early pace today, and he was still able to give a good kick in the straight. You can't hold this horse back yet, you need to make the most of his early speed,' he added.
Purton had planned to make best use of the gelding's early speed from the outset, but said he was surprised by how well he relaxed once he found the rails.
'He relaxed a lot better once he was in front on his own, he wasn't entirely sure about the turn when he got to it, but he handled it OK, and he was definitely more relaxed out in front by himself with no pressure,' he said.
Recent stable acquisition Outdoor Pegasus showed his brilliant turn of foot for Alex Lai Hoi-wing in claiming the Billion Win Handicap over the mile.
'Outdoor Pegasus is a very talented horse and I think he has improvement still to come,' Yiu said. 'Alex was very patient on him, got the run at the right time and he really fought hard all the way down the straight.'
Yiu's big day was not over yet, however, and before capping the afternoon with the crowning of Sacred Kingdom as Horse of the Year, Lunar Reflections sprinted quickly to claim the Merry Merry Handicap from favourite Let Me Handle It.
'Lunar Reflections always runs a very honest race, we changed the jockeys today and had a change of luck, Alex rode a very good race and the horse finally got the right opportunity to win,' Yiu said.
It wasn't all smooth sailing for the stable, however, and Fatboy Sugar got the afternoon off to a sour note when he was scratched before the start of race one by the veterinary officer.