A brand new baby in the morning and a winner in the evening – October 31, 2018 is a date Matthew Chadwick won’t ever forget.
It started off in wonderful fashion, with the 28-year-old’s wife Christine giving birth to a boy before heading to Sha Tin where he guided $24 shot Golden Effort to victory to cap a life-changing day.
The typically understated rider never gives much away, but a fist pump as he crossed the line was enough to show the win meant plenty.
Chadwick confirmed the younger brother to four-and-a-half-year-old Jessica is yet to be named – “we’re undecided – I’ll leave it up to mum” – and the procedure had been planned for cultural reasons.
Who's the Daddy? @mattLchadwixk certainly is after the arrival of a baby boy today and Danny Shum's Golden Effort helps him mark the occasion with a runaway success in R2 at Sha Tin. #HKracing pic.twitter.com/qqJnX1g6XN— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) October 31, 2018
“The first child we had was an emergency C-section so I think by tradition the next one has to be a C-section as well. It channels cultural fortune,” he said.
So after spending time with his family during the day, Chadwick brought the good vibes to the track.
It has been a strong start to the season for the former champion apprentice, who already has eight winners – almost half of his total of 19 from 2017-18.
That strong form continued as he saluted on Danny Shum Chap-shing’s four-year-old in the Class Five Tsim Mei Fung Handicap (1,200m).
“The new baby brought him good luck,” Shum said. “He pushed hard from the start to take advantage of the on-pace bias and it worked out.”
That on-pace bias was prominent in the first five races – three winners led all the way, one settled second and the other sat on the leader’s back.
“It seems to be running a bit fast but the track is quite dry, so definitely it seems to be advantaging the horses up front,” Chadwick said. “If you’ve got the horse to be there, you’ve definitely got a better chance.”
But that all swung around in the sixth race. With riders pushing forward to take advantage of the track conditions, they went too hard, which gave some of those who settled further back a chance.
Karis Teetan took advantage of that, producing a peach of a ride to lift the Frankie Lor Fu-chun-trained Good Fit to victory.
@KarisTeetan keeps chipping away at @zpurton's lead atop the jockeys' table. The champ - who returns from a ban on Sunday - is just one ahead after Teetan strikes aboard Frankie Lor's Good Fit in R6. #HKracing pic.twitter.com/KRNXOyLvD8— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) October 31, 2018
The win was the Mauritian’s 22nd of the term, leaving him just one behind championship leader Zac Purton, who returns from suspensions on Sunday.
“Tonight it looked like being in front was better, but they went fast, he sat midfield and Karis hunted up on the inside and saved all the ground. It was a great ride,” Lor said.
“The horse is not really consistent but he is fit, so I thought the 1,800m would be a better distance for him.”
Apprentice Dylan Mo Hin-tung collected a double, prevailing on Viva Council for Peter Ho Leung and Jimmy Ting Koon-ho’s Flying Godspell.
Dylan at the Halloween double: Apprentice Dylan Mo banishes the ghosts of a quiet October as Flying Godspell takes rookie handler Jimmy Ting back to the top of the trainers' table in R5. #HKracing pic.twitter.com/ZznmK5bXic— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) October 31, 2018
Chad Schofield matched that feat from just four rides as he claimed the opener on Chris So Wai-yin’s Superior Boy before taking out the seventh with short-priced favourite Elusive State for the in-form Tony Millard.
Elusive State won in a canter, clearing out by four-and-three-quarter lengths after settling three-back on the rail.
It was the five-year-old’s fourth victory in five starts, including two in a row for the South African after moving across from the Derek Cruz yard.
“He certainly surprised me tonight, I didn’t expect him to win like that,” Millard said. “As long as he comes out of it well he can run again in two weeks [on the dirt] and then we’ll see where we are.”
@SchofieldChad barely breaks sweat in completing a double as hot favourite Elusive State makes it 2-1 since joining Tony Millard in R7. Millard rejoins Jimmy Ting on 14 at the top of the trainers' table. #HKracing pic.twitter.com/dgitTuw47a— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) October 31, 2018
Speaking of winning easily, the John Size-trained Calculation did just that in the feature event of the night, the Class Two Hebe Hill Handicap (1,650m).
Sam Clipperton controlled the race from the front before clearing out to prevail by three-and-a-quarter lengths.
Calculation’s effort is another tick for the Jockey Club’s new facility at Conghua, with the four-year-old spending most of his time based at the HK$3.7 billion training facility in the mainland.
Benno Yung Tin-pang’s Perpetual Treasure (Keith Yeung Ming-lun) completed an up-and-down night for punters by getting home at $43 in the Class Three Pyramid Hill Handicap (1,200m).
Neil Callan and Ben So Tik-hung both earned the wrath of stewards, copping two meeting suspensions for their rides on Dr Proactive and Letsgofree, respectively. The Irishman was also hit with a HK$10,000 fine.