Ng's patience to pay off with Mount Victory
Trainer Gary Ng Ting-keung is well known for allowing his runners to come into form on their own and Mount Victory appears to be living up to that billing after giving a good sight to hold third at 65-1 odds in the Class Four Yue Wan Handicap on Wednesday night at Happy Valley.
Mount Victory had not shown much in four prior outings, but his margin of error has been shrinking with nearly each run. He opened his career on January 23 with a faltering 11th, beaten just over 10 lengths, over the 1,200m at Sha Tin, before whacking away for eighth in three straight runs, including an April 4 outing over the mile at Happy Valley when coming up 43/4 lengths in arrears of Travel Guide.
This time, Ng stepped him up to the 1,800m for the first time with Eddie Lai Wai-ming on board and they weren't given too many options when drawing widest out in gate 12, but the decision was made a lot easier from early evening action when the track was speed biased.
Lai hustled him out of the gate and put the brakes on Mount Victory after crossing to lead passing the winner's arch for the first time. He went on to clock sedate sectionals of 37.55 seconds for the opening 600m (23.88s), 1.02.55 (25) seconds after 1,000m, slowing it to a 1,400m time of 1.28.27 (25.72) and kicked for home a length on top at the 300m before succumbing 100m out for a 11/4-length third behind Private Road, a stride ahead of Healthy Manner.
A five-year-old bay son of Montjeu and a Faltaat mare, Mount Victory had the pedigree to cope with the rise in trip and, with the stamina-influential blood of Zabeel in his second dam, he may be able to stretch it out further in time as well.
The Me Tsui Yu-sak-trained Happy Cha Cha was unlucky when caught in a pocket behind Mount Victory and the one-paced favourite Compact Yarn in the final 200m when trying to take lazy way out along the inside for a big finish.
The four-year-old son has already enjoyed a productive campaign with two Valley mile wins and three placings, but appears to have another win in him before the curtain comes down on the 2010-11 campaign.