Shimmer And Shine’s injury frustrations where quickly forgotten at Sha Tin on Saturday, with the Tony Millard-trained three-year-old saluting in the Class Four Macau-Taipa Bridge Handicap (1,000m).
A philosophical Millard was quick to look forward after the gelding grabbed Lunar Zephyr in the shadows of the post to notch his maiden win at start number three.
“I’m certainly very happy with that, it was a nice win and we will most probably go for 1,200m. He’s a nice horse, unfortunately he got injured, he ran with an injury when he went at Happy Valley so that set him right back,” Millard said. “It’s been slow progress coming back but sometimes things happen for a reason.”
Millard kept Shimmer And Shine away from the races for three months after he laboured to last on debut at the Valley, before the gelding showed promise when returning to run fourth at Sha Tin three weeks ago.
Shimmer And Shine jumped well enough for Chad Schofield before settling midfield down the 1,000m straight on Saturday, slowly working his way into an evenly run race before finding enough in the final 200m to pip Lunar Zephyr in the shadows of the post.
Despite admitting it was a race he was “lucky to win”, Millard feels he has a handy type on his hands.
“I think he will be a 1,400m horse, I certainly wouldn’t go another 1,000m, he scraped home,” Millard said.
“He put his head down today, he was off the bit from the start but he still kicked on. That’s the sign of a nice horse.”
And Millard is comfortable in the knowledge he has an ace up his sleeve in the form of his apprentice Victor Wong Chun, who was aboard the second-placed Lunar Zephyr.
“My boy ran second there and it’s very difficult to beat them with the 10 pound [claim], so that’s nice. It always gives us the option next time to maybe put my boy on, we’ll see,” Millard said.
Further adding to Millard’s options is his confidence that Shimmer And Shine will handle the all-weather track.
“He’ll run on the dirt for sure, 100 per cent, so there’s always a back door.”