Not Listenin’tome shocked his rivals to win the Jockey Club Sprint at Sha Tin, while stablemate Able Friend came fourth in a solid return to racing.
Sent out a $43 shot, Not Listenin’tome sat third in transit before jockey Hugh Bowman pressed the button and he went clear, beating the favourite Lucky Bubbles, who lost no admirers after covering plenty of ground and Aerovelocity.
While trainer John Moore was thrilled with the result, he was also delighted with the effort of his superstar Able Friend, who just ran out of gas late in his first run for almost a year.
The first three across the line will all head to the Hong Kong Sprint, while a decision needs to be made if Able Friend goes there or steps up to the Hong Kong Mile on the same day.
Watch: Not Listenin’tome wins the 2016 Jockey Club Sprint
With three Group Two races on Sunday – the Jockey Club Cup (2,000m), the Jockey Club Mile (1,600m) and the Jockey Club Sprint (1,200m) – it is the key lead-up meeting for the local horses heading towards the Hong Kong International Races.
Secret Weapon staked his claim for the Hong Kong Cup with a stunning last-to-first victory in Sunday’s Longines Jockey Club Cup.
The six-year-old has gone to another level this campaign and showed a superior turn of foot while competing against some of the best horses in Hong Kong.
Helene Happy Star set the early pace while Secret Weapon was ridden quietly by Nash Rawiller.
As the others were making their runs at the top of the straight, Rawiller was patient and waited for a gap to open before setting the gelding alight and he burst through to win with ease, beating Flame Hero (Chad Schofield) and Military Attack (Joao Moreira).
The favourite, John Moore’s Designs On Rome, loomed up in the straight but weakened late to finish last.
Trained by Dennis Yip Chor-hong, Secret Weapon will now head to the Group One Hong Kong Cup (2,000m) in three weeks, carrying the hopes of the locals against a strong Japanese invasion, headlined by international superstar Maurice.
However, he will need a new jockey as Rawiller will miss the Hong Kong International Races through suspension.
Shortly afterwards, Tony Cruz’s Beauty Only continued his good form to take out the Group Two Jockey Club Mile.
Zac Purton settled the gelding back in the field, running over the top of his rivals to beat Romantic Touch and the heavily backed Sun Jewellery. Just a neck separated the first three.
There was a hard-luck story with Helene Paragon (Hugh Bowman) getting chopped out halfway down the straight, ruining his chances.
Beauty Only will now chase his first Group One in the Hong Kong Mile, hoping to improve on his eighth-place finish last year.