Dr Super a real Valley trooper
Hong Kong's biggest racehorse, Dr Super, took to the smallest track in town and handled it with aplomb as the giant galloper delivered master trainer John Size the second half of a double at Happy Valley last night.
Weighing in at well over 1,300 pounds and heading to the tight-turning circuit for the first time, Dr Super railed like a greyhound for Jeff Lloyd over 1,200m.
The always meticulous Size had brought Dr Super to Happy Valley to trial before his first start, which he didn't handle as well as last night's effort, where he crossed from gate 11 to lead and dominated proceedings from there.
'If they get to the rail and get on the right leg, then there's no reason a big horse can't handle this track,' Size said.
'His head is in the right place, his heart is in the right place and he tries his best no matter what you ask him to do.
'That's what you want from a racehorse.'
Size scored earlier with Elusive Prince, who became the 300th Hong Kong winner for bloodstock agent David Price, the Australian who is most famous for importing champion sprinter Silent Witness.
Elusive Prince (Douglas Whyte) hadn't raced since January 21, after which he had suffered lameness issues, and appreciated a drop back in distance and a gun run from barrier one.
'Tonight's 1,000m, or 1,200m, is good for him and he goes well here,' said Size, who now has 47 wins for the term and a firm hold on the trainers' championship.
Richard Gibson also had a double as Easy Gold won his fifth race of the season and Enthusing snapped a frustrating run of outs for Tim Clark, who had gone 65 rides without a winner.
Easy Gold (Olivier Doleuze) benefited from a crawling tempo as he stepped up to 1,800m for the first time.
'We thought there would be no pace and that's why we rode him more prominently,' said Gibson, who admitted he had kept the 1,800m 'up his sleeve' with the horse.
'Enthusing has improved a lot since being gelded,' Gibson said of his second winner, which took him to 23 for the season, before saving some kind words for Clark.
'I've always been happy to put Tim on, to me he is the best lightweight jockey in town,' the trainer said.
A surprise change in tactics paid off for Brett Prebble on Winsome, as he fired the Caspar Fownes-trained four-year-old out at the start and led all the way. 'He hadn't really been getting out of the gates, but I made sure he did tonight. He didn't have any weight, so I made them chase,' Prebble said.
Andy Leung Ting-wah capped a successful week with back-to-back wins for Danesouth (Derek Leung Ka-chun), who had taken 25 runs to break his maiden.
On Tuesday, Leung was successful in his bid to have his official date of birth moved forward one year, making the now 63-year-old eligible for one more season of training.
Leung was even using mathematics to describe his horse's win: 'It was logical, one plus one equals two,' he said.
'He has ability, a good barrier and good form.'
Manfred Man Ka-leung has endured a frustrating two seasons with Hey Ha Master (Ben So Tik-hung), who finally broke through at his 21st career start.
'This horse has been a real headache,' Man said.
'We've tried many different things, but it seems like side winkers for the first time helped. He has started off on 52 and he has won off 21, it's taken us two years to figure it out.'
Andreas Suborics had his last Hong Kong stint ended nearly two years ago when a head injury forced him to undergo brain surgery, but at his first night back at Happy Valley, he produced a rails-hugging ride to win on the Derek Cruz-trained Magnanimous.