While there were other riders feeling the pinch in Sunday’s icy blast at Sha Tin, Neil Callan wasn’t one of them and looked right at home as he grabbed an early double.
Callan was not fazed by any of it as he struck in the third with Chris So Wai-yin’s 70-1 shot Fortune Territory, then returned half an hour later with 20-1 winner True Comment on the dirt for Ricky Yiu Poon-fai.
“I actually won on True Comment the only run he had a couple of years ago in England, at Haydock, a grade one track, and he bolted up in a two-year-old and I thought he had a nice future,” Callan said.
“But he came here off that and it has taken him a really long time to get his confidence.
“He has run some decent races here and there, but his form has been patchy and I remember he ran 1,650m here on the dirt one day and he was trying to run off the track past the post, like he wanted to go home. He’s just taken a long time to settle in.”
True Comment looks to have turned the corner in the past month with a dead-heat over 1,650m at Happy Valley followed by a photo-finish defeat there.
“That’s three good runs on the trot and they could have been three wins with better luck, too,” Callan said.
“I think he could keep progressing and go back up in class now he’s getting it right and he’s won today over 1,800m, so that gives him more distance options.”
Fortune Territory had been happily ensconced in Class Five his previous four runs without threatening the scorer, but Callan said the ratings drop and a little bit of juice in the ground probably made the difference.
“I’d galloped him and he didn’t do a whole lot, but when they get a bit older they tend to save themselves on the morning track and bring it out race day,” Callan said of the seven-year-old.
“He’s been a solid Class Five horse in the past and had dropped quite a bit in the handicap so with a bit of cushion in track today he’s performed.”