Voyage King was the victor of an eventful race at Sha Tin on Saturday and it was the performance of a horse who has plenty of upside.
More than half the field in the Class Three Coloane Handicap (1,400m) was affected when Joao Moreira – who was suspended for two meetings and fined HK$100,000 – shifted in on Big Bang Bong, including Voyage King.
Despite the interference, Macau jockey Peter Ho Wah-lun managed to keep the Frankie Lor’s three-year-old balanced and he finished off the race well to notch his first Hong Kong victory. Adding to the merit of the run, it was discovered after the race he had sustained a cut to his left hind fetlock.
It was Voyage King’s best effort since arriving from Australia, where he won three of his four races in Queensland.
The gelding struggled in his first two starts at Sha Tin, finishing well down the track, but he showed some improvement at his third start, despite not having everything go his way and it paved the way for Saturday’s win.
He will come on even more for that run and should be able to collect another victory in Class Three.
“The horse has kept improving, when he came to Hong Kong he had just turned three. He was still green the first few months he was here,” Lor said.
“I think he just needs more experience – he will keep getting better the more he races. At this moment, 1,400m is OK but maybe he will be better at 1,600m later on.”
Another three-year-old who can make an impact is the John Size-trained Gunnison, who caught the eye in the Class Two down the straight.
A Group Two winner in Australia, the gelding had been around the mark in his first three Hong Kong starts without placing, before being trapped wide and working hard and dropping out over 1,400m in April.
Size dropped him back to 1,000m on Saturday and he put in a much stronger effort and probably should have finished second after being held up between runners about 250m out.
Expect him to be winning races next term with an off-season under his belt.