David Hall admits there is a huge sense of satisfaction at seeing the talented but injury-plagued Little Giant cruise to victory after almost 12 months off the scene.
There has been a boom around Little Giant since he defeated Humidor on debut in New Zealand, that horse subsequently winning three Group Ones in Australia.
The ability has always been there, but prior to Monday, Hong Kong racegoers had seen him race on just three occasions (for two wins) since arriving in March 2016 because of foot problems.
But all the time and effort getting Little Giant right has paid off, as he took advantage of barrier two under a beautiful Zac Purton ride to take out the Class Two Beijing Handicap (1,200m).
“When [Little Giant] came and delivered first time out like he did and with [Humidor] doing what he’s done, he’s had a lot of hype about him,” Hall said.
“To look at him every day sitting in the box with his foot in the air, it’s been hard work.
“We had a tough year with a lot of seconds last year and you can’t race your best horse, so it’s good to see him out there.
“Hopefully the foot problems are behind him now and have a serious think about what we can do – I’d assume that would be the end of Class Two.”
Given how little racing Little Giant has done, Hall is still trying to figure out his best trip.
“I’m still not sure what his peak distance will be, obviously he can sprint like that over 1,200m and I’m sure he can get to 1,400m and he might have a mile distance in him.
“Where we go from here I don’t know, we had to get him back to the track.
“With 12 months off it’s hard to get them to go and win first time – especially like that – but he progressed with each trial and we knew he had the talent but you’ve got to go do it I suppose after such a long time off.”
The win completed a double for the Hall-Purton combination after Seventy Seventy broke through for his maiden victory in the Class Four Nanjing Handicap (1,200m).