Cheyne masters the Sha Tin straight course
In-form Greg Cheyne built on his amazing straight-course record with a surprise win on Happy Prestige for trainer David Hall, giving the South African jockey his third victory from his last five rides down the Sha Tin straight.
Cheyne was visibly delighted with the shock three-quarter length result over Super Boy and punters who backed the 33-1 winner would have been over the moon as Cheyne drove the gelding to his first Hong Kong victory.
'I didn't expect too much from this fellow coming here this morning, and we were just hoping we could get him travelling comfortably and then get him to finish off,' Cheyne said. 'But, as the race progressed he was travelling on the bit beautifully, and when I got busy on him he gave me enough of a kick to beat them off.
'He doesn't feel like a five furlong horse either, so with the win under the belt you never know how he'll improve from here.'
Cheyne enjoyed a back-to-back double on Fair Navigator in recent weeks down the straight, and has clearly got the knack for judging straight-course pace with two placings and three wins from his past seven outings over the course.
The win on Happy Prestige takes the under-rated rider to six wins for the season and, from limited opportunities, the South African has found his own niche in the Hong Kong riding ranks.
'I haven't had many rides for David Hall other than on Cool Cat, so hopefully I can build on that relationship and pick up a few more chances,' Cheyne said. 'I have a good book of eight on New Year's day, so it would be nice to start the year with some momentum.'
Hall is enjoying some festive season time off and wasn't on course to lead in his winner, but the trainer will also be pleased with the way his other entrant, Blazing Saddles, sprinted into fifth placing, just one length off the winner and a neck away from a stable quinella.