Trainer David Ferraris paid tribute to “one of the finest farriers I’ve ever worked with” after Kiram finally atoned for an unlucky last start defeat a mere six months after the fact.
The outstanding training feat by Ferraris was the highlight on the track, while the stewards’ room provided an unusual lowlight off it when Zac Purton was fined HK$100,000 for improper conduct after a verbal confrontation with a Jockey Club staff member after winning the night’s trophy race on Lucky Wan Feng.
“After being approached by a member of Club staff to proceed with haste to the presentation, he used threatening language to the staff member,” chief steward Kim Kelly said.
But there were no issues about the conduct of Kiram (Karis Teetan), who hadn’t been seen since International Jockeys’ Championship night at Happy Valley in December, when he clipped another runner’s heels at the top of the straight before finishing second to Mutual Joy and Ferraris had been unable to get him to the races since.
“This horse has real problem feet. Every winter it is so dry in Hong Kong, and it doesn’t matter how much oil you put on his hooves, he gets quarter cracks. He got one just after the night Hugh Bowman should have won on him and has struggled with it since,” Ferraris said.
“But the difference has been one of the club’s farriers, Guy Errington. He’s absolutely one of the finest farriers I’ve ever worked with. He has designed a special orthopaedic shoe for Kiram and made it himself and it takes the pressure off the hoof and it’s an absolutely fantastic job.
“Farriers are just so important in this game and they never get the acknowledgment they deserve. Thanks to him, Kiram has been trialling superbly and Guy has turned him around. I’ve heard on the grapevine that he is leaving the club but that would be a tragedy.”
Kiram’s win in the final race closed off the matter of star apprentice Matthew Poon Ming-fai’s unbeaten Hong Kong record, with the jockey failing to ride a winner for the first time since his return from Australia.
Callan Murray (Sparkling Talent) landed his third winner courtesy of a protest between third-placed Purton (Rugby Diamond) and first home Joao Moreira (Highland Dragon). Murray got across the line a fast-finishing second but found himself on top when the dust settled after Purton’s objection against Moreira was upheld.
“Well that is really a lucky win,” trainer Danny Shum Chap-shing said of Sparkling Talent, before making it a double when Lucky Wan Feng (Purton) took out the Class Three trophy race.
Purton said Shum had enlisted his help after two very disappointing efforts from Lucky Wan Feng at Sha Tin recently.
“Danny didn’t know what had happened and asked me to ride the horse in work and see if I could suggest anything,” Purton explained.
“I couldn’t find anything there, but I did notice in his form that he won when he was in a fast pace race at Sha Tin, then travelled a bit keen when the pace wasn’t as hot the last couple and maybe he was doing too much within himself and choking down when the pace was slower.
“He was still a bit keen tonight and probably still not at his best but Happy Valley is little more forgiving.”
Joao Moreira’s night included two winners after his opening race disappointment, one of them, Nashashuk taking John Size to 91 wins for the season and equalling Tony Cruz’s record.
Sam Clipperton moved into a clear fourth on the jockeys’ table with his 40th winner for the season, atoning for an unlucky fifth at his first ride on Francis Lui Kin-wai-trained Letsgofree two weeks ago.
“He didn’t have much luck in that race and, when I came back in, I said to Francis I’d really like to ride the horse again because he hadn’t had a lot of luck in the run and I thought he would win soon,” Clipperton said. “I’ve got to give a big thanks to Francis and the owners for sticking with me.”