The John Size-trained Dinozzo will back up in Sunday’s Group Three Centenary Vase as a winner after being part of a rebound double for apprentice Jack Wong Ho-nam at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
Wong was having just his fourth ride back from fracturing some lower back vertebrae in a fall at Sha Tin in November when he scored on Winning Supreme in the opening race.
Four races later, he gave Dinozzo a terrific ride to take the Class Two over 1,650m to make it a pair and Size said the plan had always been to send the gelding to Sunday’s feature.
“His other three wins had been at 1,800m before tonight so the race on Sunday looked a good opportunity over that distance for a horse whose opportunities are getting harder to find now,” Size said.
“He got the gate tonight to follow the fence and only had to come around the leader. After this, he’ll be rated 107, so he’ll go into Sunday very fit, he gets an opportunity in that race and he’s going to be limited after that but he has done a good job. He fractured his pelvis early on so to win four races and earn HK$7 million in prizemoney, he’s done well.”
Wong suffered a serious ankle injury in a fall at Happy Valley in November 2016, and the latest fall also occurred in November last year but he was back into action much quicker.
“Although I had some fractures in my lumbar area, I didn’t need any surgery,” he explained. “I just had to rest at home and recover, so it was faster than the previous time. It was frustrating and hard work to get back to full fitness again but when you ride two winners, everything feels worth it. And it was great to ride a winner for my boss and for Mr Size.”
Wong’s first win came, appropriately, for his master Me Tsui Yu-sak, who he credited with great support on his comeback path.
“My boss is always a great supporter of my career so I’m really pleased the first win was for him,” he said after Winning Supreme won his second race in a week, this time doing it the hard way after sitting three-wide in the run.
“Actually, after the run that he had, I was a little surprised how strong he was at the finish but I suppose he was very fit after racing last week,” Wong said.
Wong allowed himself a punch of the air after the line on Winning Supreme and Matthew Chadwick did likewise after winning on Applause for Derek Cruz in the fourth.
“It wasn’t like it was a big win or anything but I had gone to the races thinking I had some good rides for a change and I was frustrated after the first two didn’t have the best of luck,” Chadwick said.
“Even Applause got squeezed out to last just after the start. We thought he could be a bit closer with the blinkers on but he didn’t get the chance. I didn’t panic though, I knew he would finish off strongly after the way he finished a couple of starts back over the same distance.”
Local jockeys dominated the night’s racing, winning the first six events on the card before Brett Prebble interrupted the streak with Super Fluke in the second last and Alexis Badel scored on the Tony Millard-trained Bold Stitch in the final race.
However, Badel earned the wrath of stewards for the win, copping a two-meeting suspension for careless riding, while Karis Teetan was also outed for two days and hit with a HK$90,000 fine for his effort in the opening race.
Despite the arctic conditions, more than 15,000 braved the elements for the Valley meeting, down on 2017 but for good reason, while turnover was also down slightly.