Classic Boy looks a winner in waiting
Caspar Fownes is going through a dry spell by his standards with only five winners from the past 16 meetings, but Classic Boy looks a sure winner after coming up a stride short of winning the Class Four Sau Mau Ping Handicap (1,650m) on Wednesday night at Happy Valley.
Classic Boy was driven forward to occupy a position with cover in fourth before the first bend after breaking slowly from gate 11, urged to pick up ground passing the 450m, peeled off heels into the clear five deep at the 300m, laid in under the whip and eventually got balanced and finished off well behind favourite Ho Ho Life.
The four-year-old had kicked off his career with some promising runs, plugging on in his October debut behind exciting Captain Sweet over the 1,200m at Sha Tin before knuckling over at the start and dislodging Zac Purton in a Happy Valley run in November. He returned last month with a gritty 13/4-length fifth behind Champagne Days over the Sha Tin mile after burning energy to dictate the lead from gate 14.
Classic Boy is a bay son of the Danzig sire Bertolini, a Group Three winner of the July Stakes (1,200m) and a listed race over 1,400m from 23 starts and has produced eight winners from 14 local runners, of which 19 of their 27 wins have been achieved between 1,200m and a mile.
He has plenty of upside off his rating and should prove a good money spinner for the Back Room Boys Syndicate, who have had good success as an owner syndicate over the years with five winners from six past performers, including Excellent Boy and Zietengo Boy.
Tony Millard's new stable acquisition Lucky Nistelrooy turned in an eye-catching effort in the Tiu Keng Leng Handicap (1,650m).
Lucky Nistelrooy spotted the field nearly three lengths after breaking in the air under Weichong Marwing, quickly tacked on while zipping to the fence at the 1,400m, inched closer three wide passing the 800m, straightened with only one deeper out and finished off strongly to snatch third in a photo, four lengths behind the surprise winner Clovis.
Lucky Nistelrooy had shown ability at times, but could only chalk up a few placings under the guidance of Peter Ng Bik-kuen. Since joining Millard, the four-year-old son of Van Nistelrooy has bulked up and looks a different type.
Millard has awoken more than a few fallen runners, including Sleep Well, Romancing Tamar, Elite Fortune and Shatin Treasure.
Time to thrill
Classic Boy has been clocking good sectionals in his races and recorded this time for his last 400m on Wednesday: 23.56