Rising young sprinter All Thrills Too might look like an overnight sensation but his place in the Hong Kong Sprint has been almost a decade in the making for owner Alan Lam Man-bun. And Lam, whose cerise, white and blue colours have been carried to more than 30 Group wins in Australia and New Zealand, says he is taking Sunday's result personally. 'Actually, racing All Thrills Too it is a very different feeling because I get to see him all the time,' Lam says. 'When I have horses running in Australia, I just listen on the radio. I don't fly down for the race. But with All Thrills Too, I see the horse racing and it is more personal - especially as I also bred him.' The story begins with Lam as a young boy, when he used to ride horses in the Sha Tin district more than 30 years ago. 'There was a place I used to go to when I was just eight years old,' he recalls. 'A couple of years later, I drifted away from riding but when I went to the United States in the early 1970s for my education, I took it up again. I have always had that passion for horses, and my father was a very keen racing man, so it was just natural that I would own racehorses.' Lam's start in racing came with a slow horse, a fresh start and a lesson. 'A few months before Kessem won the Hong Kong Cup in 1990,' Lam remembers with an effort, 'I joined with a friend and raced my first horse in Hong Kong. He was trained by Geoff Lane, he was called Speedy Champion - and he was very, very average. But the one thing he did do for me was to convince me that I should get my own horses in future.' Lam wiped the slate clean and started again. 'So I regard the first horse I ever owned as Soleil Rouge, a New Zealand mare I bought in the early 1990s and I still own her,' he says. Although a Group Two and Three winner in New Zealand, the daughter of Red Tempo was short of top class, but she gave her owner a minor taste of the glory that was to come. In 1993, he produced a New Zealand-trained filly called Tristalove to win the Group One Sires' Produce Stakes at Randwick and she won another Group One the following year. Within 12 months, the Lam colours seemed only to line up in major events, and the field for the 1994 Golden Slipper contained not just two Lam runners but two of the favourites, both trained by David Hayes. Their path to the Slipper had been frustrating. St Covet, a Magic Millions sale horse, had been dominant in everything he did except the Millions itself when he was run down near home. Mr Vitality had also looked top drawer in everything he did in Melbourne - until he was a neck short of victory in the Blue Diamond Stakes at Caulfield. After seconds in the two biggest juvenile races to that point, Lam was hoping for something better in the main event. 'That was a heartbreaking Golden Slipper,' Lam said. 'We just couldn't quite get there. St Covet was beaten in a very close photo, ridden by Shane Dye, and Mr Vitality suffered interference and finished a close fourth.' Soon after, Mr Vitality was sold to Hong Kong to become champion sprinter in the colours of Larry Yung Chi-kin, but St Covet was not finished yet and he is where All Thrills Too begins. St Covet broke through in the Sires' Produce at Randwick after the Slipper, then returned at three to win the Caulfield Guineas, but was suddenly retired when on the verge of becoming Australia's best miler. 'St Covet had won a Group One as a two- and three-year-old and there was nothing more that would enhance his stud career,' Lam says. 'David was very disappointed at the time, but we were just being commercial. Glenlogan Stud in Queensland made a good offer and our partnership accepted.' In the meantime, Lam had begun racing horses with Ivan Allan's stable in Hong Kong, and through that connection had sent Soleil Rouge to Allan's stallion, Citidancer, in New Zealand. 'With Ivan I had a horse called All Thrills, who was very good and was second in the Derby,' Lam says. 'I also had one of the first Danehills here, Just Thrills, who was probably going to be one of my best but he won his only race then broke his neck in a stable mishap.' The mating of Citidancer and Soleil Rouge bore fruit, but not the kind that Lam was looking for. 'The foal, Red Slippers, was tiny. I would have sold her but she was definitely too small to race,' he remembers. 'So I kept her a couple of years just wondering what I was going to do. Well, St Covet was a very big, strong horse. When he went to stud, I did a bit of computer pedigree matching with Red Slippers and thought it looked OK. And I thought at least I would get a foal with a little more size.' St Covet died after just a handful of stud seasons, but the Red Slippers foal was born, and he blossomed. And became All Thrills Too - bred by Alan Lam, by a stallion he raced and from a mare he bred. 'He is a very exciting horse. I have owned Group One winners and I rate him among the best of them,' Lam says. 'These races are very open but I hope All Thrills Too can win on Sunday. When you see what he did in the Sprint Trial, he must be right in the thick of it.'