Jockey Brett Prebble earns plaudits for mega brilliance
Trainer Tony Cruz applauds in-form Australian jockey for superb ride in winning feature race
A brilliant Brett Prebble ride on the Tony Cruz-trained Mega Champion stole the Happy Valley Clubhouse 20th Anniversary Cup, the in-form Australian navigating a miraculous path from the widest gate into a perfect midfield position on the rails.
A solidly run race helped, as Prebble picked his way through inside runs and narrowly edged out the fast-closing Forgive And Forget late.
"All the credit goes to Brett for that win, to get from gate 12 to that spot was an unbelievable piece of riding," Cruz said after his charge went off at just better than 10-1.
"Once I saw where he had settled, I was very confident and the race panned out perfectly for him."
Prebble has now ridden Mega Champion three times this season - his only rides for Cruz this term - for two wins and a second.
Douglas Whyte reclaimed top spot in the Jockeys' Championship and John Size took the outright lead in the trainers' division as Classic Jewellery finally broke through for his second win.
Classic Jewellery has been fighting an uphill battle, and developed a reputation as being a touch weak, since an impressive debut victory that gave him a 14-point increase in the handicaps at the start of last term.
"I don't think he is necessarily stronger than last season, but I think we've got to be careful when we run him, you've just got to take your time with him," Size said.
"We've had to come to Happy Valley to get the win, and we might have to look to try back here again as the Sha Tin mile might be a bit strong for him.
"I'm glad he has had a good win, after he ran such a great debut and never really lived up to it."
Weichong Marwing rode a double and snatched the Jockey Challenge with 24 points, winning early in the night with a positive ride on Capital K and then for David Ferraris on track specialist Imperial Rome in the last.
"Weichong might not ride the most winners here, but at the end of the day, he rides the most for me," Ferraris said.
"This horse really loves it at this track, and when you've got a horse like that at Happy Valley, I think you need to keep him here as long as possible."
Peter Ho Leung's Capital K has dropped from Class Two to Class Four in 13 starts here and, coming off a brave run when stuck wide, was pushed into prominent spot by Marwing and then ground down the leader, Benefactor.
Danny Shum Chap-shing took over Good Looking Watch (Tye Angland) this season and a decent first-up effort for his new handler was followed by a solid trial, and a dominant Class Five victory last night.
"I thought he ran really well for us last start - we ran into Real Dragon, so you can see he has some quality, and we came here tonight feeling very confident," said Shum, who predicted more victories for the six-year-old.
"He'll only get six or seven points for that and will stay in the grade. His weight has gone up 20 pounds, he is eating well, sleeping well and his trackwork is great."
Andy Leung Ting-wah chimed in with a winner. Storm Unicorn breaking his local maiden status after 13 unsuccessful starts - a positive, and then patient, ride from Derek Leung Ka-chun getting the five-year-old into a one-off spot from barrier nine.
"He got in the right spot and then waited and waited, and he didn't go until just the right time," Leung said of his namesake's effort, which saw the rider suspended for two days.
"I always thought this horse would show his best when he got up to 1,650m."
Peter Ng Bik-kuen, along with most other trainers, was away at the Ready to Run Sale in New Zealand, but he recorded a double, with Asmodai (Alvin Ng Ka-chun) and Home With Glory (Howard Cheng Yue-tin).