Three out of four not bad at all for Ho
Local trainer delighted after nearly making it a clean sweep in the IJC races last night
Other than Singaporean series winner Joao Moreira, Peter Ho Leung was the main beneficiary of the International Jockey Challenge, his horses winning three legs of the series - and it could have easily been a clean sweep for the local trainer.
Ho won three legs of the IJC - two of the winners ridden by Moreira, including his dramatic series-clincher on Noble Deluxe - and the trainer produced runner-up Expectator in the second leg.
Moreira produced an aggressive ride to spring from gate eight and lead all the way on All The Winners for Ho, while a desperate Zac Purton drove The Untouchablelad to a narrow win for the stable.
"It's nice to win these races - they do carry some extra stakemoney," joked Ho, who has now won nine races this term. "I drew some world-class jockeys on my horses, Moreira rides so many winners in Singapore - he is amazing."
A move back to blinkers brought about the right result with The Untouchablelad, Purton still spotting the leaders a big margin with 200m to go, but overwhelming Xilai Xianzi late.
All The Winners won at the first Happy Valley meeting of the season, before disappointing two weeks later, Ho coming to the conclusion he needs to keep the seven-year-old fresh.
"That was the key there, he runs well first-up and that's what we'll be trying to do with him in the future," Ho said.
Caspar Fownes-trained Victor Delight (Weichong Marwing) has the look of a progressive stayer, and he made it back-to-back wins when he stepped up to 1,800m.
"He is typical of an import from Europe, he has just needed that little bit of time to adjust," Fownes said.
"Zac [Purton] had ridden him before - but we booked Weichong a few weeks ago because we thought the horse was going to have less weight, and Zac wouldn't be able to get down to ride it."
Tony Millard's Epee De Hua is a "career Class Five horse" - but does have some speed and has now won six races - winning at least once on all three tracks.
"He is getting older, at seven, and has had 50-something starts - but he is still in good condition," Millard said. "The owners have been very supportive of me for a very long time - so it is great to win another one for them, especially on a big night."
Derek Cruz had linked with jockey Christophe Lemaire previously and didn't hesitate to book the Frenchman for a ride outside the series. Lemaire did the right thing by connections when he showed soft hands and composure in front on Tomodachi.
"Christophe is very calm - when the horses came to his outside to challenge, he stayed relaxed and didn't panic," Cruz said. "This horse can get a bit nervous, so I told him to go straight to the lead and let him roll. I'm happy this horse could win, he has come back from what could have been a serious tendon injury."
Me Tsui Yu-sak was grateful to draw Ryan Moore on Absolute Fantasy, and the leading British hoop produced a top shelf effort.
"This horse has actually been very consistent," Tsui said, after Moore produced a picture-perfect ride from gate four.
"Having a great jockey certainly helped his cause - maybe he was a bit familiar with him after riding him as a younger horse. He certainly had him in the right spot in the run, the pace was suitable and the horse did what he needed to do."
A superb piece of riding from Matthew Chadwick helped Cape Canaveral to a strong win in the Europe Handicap.
Jumping from gate 10, Chadwick got two-wide, but the key move came when he got the jump on race favourite Dance For Gold and helped put him in a pocket at a critical stage of the race.
"We have decided to take him back and ride him quieter," Chadwick said.