Robbie Fradd shrugged off the travails of the past few days to notch his second successive midweek treble last night but the Sha Tin meeting did not go by without mention of the Fairy King Prawn affair.
Trainer Ivan Allan, who sacked Fradd from Hong Kong's champion horse on Monday for ignoring riding instructions, won the fourth event with Integrity (Eric Saint-Martin) and made a veiled reference to Fradd. 'I told Eric to cover him up and bring him wide - that's just two instructions - and he gave him a perfect ride,' Allan said.
Saint-Martin had also won on Sunday for Allan aboard Cheers Hong Kong and last night's victory further cemented his place with the stable and firmed his prospects of being the new rider for Fairy King Prawn.
Mick Kinane had a bitter-sweet night, riding a brilliant race to win the opening event aboard Charity First but falling foul of the stipes in the second and last events.
Kinane came from barrier 11 on Victory Marble in the final event to sit second at the hindquarters of the eventual winner in the run to the home turn. But in doing so, he was found to have been the primary cause of an early scrimmage which saw David Harrison's mount Ideal Partner go down on his nose and close to a fall. Kinane was suspended for three meetings and fined $30,000, to commence after Saturday's Sha Tin fixture. Kinane's problems didn't stop there. He was also fined $20,000 for failing to ride his mount, Really Lucky, right to the line in the second event.
But last night belonged to Fradd as the previous Wednesday had done at Happy Valley, all three wins coming on horses he had not previously ridden. 'It was just a treble, I didn't think I had a point to prove,' he said.
'But it was nice to ride winners for top trainers like Lawrie Fownes and Brian Kan, but as you can see, I can ride winners from the front and from behind.'
The South African opened his account for the night with a copybook effort on Aficionado for Fownes, replacing the injured Wendyll Woods. Aficionado was heavily supported into favouritism in the Class Five event and never really looked like losing after being steadied to midfield soon after the jump.
He travelled very keenly throughout but took himself into the race approaching the corner as Fradd let him have his way then swiftly put his rivals away in the stretch.
'The way he works, you'd say he's a Class Two horse,' said Fownes, who has changed Aficionado's routine recently with improved results. 'We've been racing him more than working him, trying to teach him to race, and I think the penny has started to drop with him.'
Fownes was pleased to win but was disappointed that Woods had not been able to partner Aficionado. 'Wendyll has done all the work with him to get here tonight so it is a pity,' Fownes said.
Woods had an early shower on Derby Day with a back ailment and the problem had persisted in the past couple of days, ruling him out of last night's racing.
Fradd was caught by surprise on Aficionado after getting the wrong impression with the gelding in his work. 'I'd ridden him in trackwork on Tuesday and he didn't seem like a difficult ride but when he jumped out in tonight's race he was pulling my arms out,' Fradd said.
Fradd added the night's feature, The Yan Oi Tong Cup, lifting Hero's Way over the line for Chris Cheung Ting-Pong. Hero's Way settled rearwards on the all-weather surface but accelerated into the race by the 600m, looping the field on the bend, and looked set to win handily at one stage.
But Hero's Way had had more than enough on the line, taking just enough inspiration from Fradd's enthusiasm on top to score by a neck from Super Goal Striker.
In the final leg of his treble, Fradd escaped with larceny over the 1,200m course in the final event on Merry Merry for Derby-winning trainer Brian Kan Ping-Chee.
The pre-race speed in the event evaporated as Fradd took Merry Merry through to lead a comfortable first section then showed wonderful timing as he quickened in the final 600m to win smartly.