Ng steers City Power to Cup glory
Trainer Me Tsui Yu-sak claimed Alvin Ng Ka-chun's 10-pound allowance was the key to City Power's feature race win last night, as a couple of three-time winners and a potential top-line sprinter stole the limelight at the Sha Tin all-dirt meeting.
Trainer Andreas Schutz grabbed his first Hong Kong treble, jockey Tye Angland his third three-time effort and the John Moore-trained Admiration caught the eye winning a Class One on the All Weather Track.
But Cup race glory went to Ng. The youngster struggled under the weight of expectation and criticism, after many pundits predicted a big season with his generous claim.
He came into the Tsuen Wan New Town Golden Jubilee Cup (Class Three, 1,200m) with the unimpressive record of having ridden just three winners from 65 starts this season.
But he produced a gem from gate two last night, settling the late-firmer-in-betting three back from the fence from gate two and threading along the rails late to hold off the unlucky Crown Witness.
Ng's late manoeuvring came at a price, with the junior rider copping a two meeting suspension for interference caused in the straight.
'The 10-pound claim helped him a lot and it was a very good ride, it made the difference,' Tsui said.
City Power came to Hong Kong with two wins in Ireland from six starts. After 10 starts for four placings last term, he was gelded in the off-season and Tsui said this had the desired result. 'It helped him concentrate when he had to go through the gap and in the last 200m,' he said.
While the feature race was City Power's, the night's most impressive individual performance belonged to Admiration.
In his first time on the dirt, the four-year-old entire ran slick time (1.08.1) for the 1,200m trip carrying top weight of 133 pounds in a style that suggested quality race wins could be just around the corner.
Admiration (Darren Beadman) came into the race off a fifth behind unbeaten star Entrapment and now has a record of six wins from 13.
'I don't want to rush him, he's a lovely horse, but we want him to work his way up the grades,' Moore said.
Schutz trained three of the first four winners of the night; Bingo Key, Golden Treasure and rejuvenated eight-year-old Lucky Tycoon, which saluted at surprising odds in a Class Four over 1,200m. 'I've had a few doubles, but getting my first three-timer was very exciting,' he said.
Lucky Tycoon seems to have a rapport with jockey Terry Wong Chi-wai, combining to win last start at Happy Valley. Before that, Wong's last winner was on the same horse.
In the opening event, Schutz again combined with in-form hoop Tim Clark, whose double at Sha Tin on Sunday included a win for the trainer. The Australian produced a nice front-running ride on well-punted $3.30 favourite Bingo Key in a Class Five Handicap (1,650m).
Schutz gave top marks to both Clark and the injury-plagued galloper, who broke through for a maiden win at his 16th start. 'This horse has terrible joints and I wanted to retire him at one point. He's not the fastest horse in Hong Kong. I think the surface helped him,' he said.
His third winner was another favoured in betting, Golden Treasure, which skirted wide and flashed home after a patient ride from Tye Angland in a Class Four (1,650m).
The win was part of a third career Hong Kong treble for Angland, who had earlier combined with Size on breakthrough winner Elusive Prince, who appreciated a change to the forgiving surface on the All Weather Track and step back to 1,200m in a Class Four Handicap.
Gary Ng Ting-keung came into the meeting as the only trainer not to have notched a win, however, Angland helped break his duck with the upset win of Withinmyheart in a Class Three Handicap (1,200m). He also claimed victory on the Manfred Man Ka-leung-trained Euro Swiftly.
Jockeys Matthew Chadwick and Eddie Lai Wai-ming received two meeting bans for careless riding.