Eastern Express takes another step towards a Hong Kong Derby berth
Four-year-old does what he has to do, with John Size trying to get his rating high enough for feature
Trainer John Size missed out on narrowly winning a sixth Stewards’ Cup but his Derby ‘dark horse’ project continued to gain pace as Eastern Express won his third race from five starts for the term. Eastern Express (Karis Teetan) needs to keep winning and keep lifting his rating to even make the Derby in March but the Fastnet Rock gelding held up his end of the bargain, taking another Class Three over 2,000m. Most winning trainers are happy for their horse to be less impressive and attract a lighter penalty but Size would probably prefer some serious points for Eastern Express, who again did not put a gap in the opposition. “He moved into the race very impressively but got the front and didn’t know what to do,” Size said. “He probably wants something to chase, which is normal.”
Perfect front-running ride from Vincent Ho gets Born To Win home at big odds
Jockey Vincent Ho Chak-yiu got a “10 out of 10” mark from trainer Caspar Fownes after Born To Win caused the day’s upset at Sha Tin. Born To Win led all the way at 24-1, scrambling in ahead of Penny Lane at 16-1, in the only interruption to a day of well-fancied winners. “He’s not the easiest to ride, you have to get him exactly right,” said Fownes. “I told him to go forward and let him run along – get out, get a lead and keep moving. If you let the others get up beside him before straightening, he just gives up so Vincent got it exactly right. The horse has done a good job to win five races but he probably hasn’t a lot more to give – he’s a seven-year-old and his joints are getting creaky now.”
Chad Schofield foregoes rides at Sha Tin and will miss Wednesday’s Happy Valley meeting
Young Australian jockey Chad Schofield took an early shower at Sha Tin after experiencing back pain following the second race and he will be missing from the midweek card at Happy Valley as well. Schofield rode Holy Star into second behind Fortune Giggles but was then stood down from his remaining eight mounts due to the injury. Schofield told stewards he had suffered a fracture in his back after a fall earlier in his career, and that may have been behind the issue. Stewards had planned to name standby jockeys for Schofield’s Happy Valley rides but that will not be necessary after he contacted them to say he will bypass the meeting.