Talented jockey Chad Schofield collected his first-ever Happy Valley treble to provide the highlight of an otherwise subdued Wednesday night card.
The flat atmosphere was completely understandable given the events of Sunday’s meeting with the uncertainty over the welfare of jockey Tye Angland after a horror fall at Sha Tin.
The 29-year-old remains in the Prince of Wales Hospital in a serious but stable condition, however his presence was certainly felt 15km away at the city track.
While Angland was in everyone’s thoughts, there was still a job to be done and Schofield produced three outstanding rides to salute aboard Rookie Star, Flying Quest and Smart Baby.
“I only had five rides but I knew at least four of them were winning chances,” Schofield said.
“Keep Going ran well in the first race and then they started winning from there, it was a really enjoyable night in the end.
“It does happen quite often, when things are happening for you, they keep happening. Everything went smoothly and I had the best trip in the races I was in and the horses were good enough.
“I had very good barriers and that is half of the battle here, it’s so important because it helps you put them in the right spot and then you can judge the pace.
“Everything fell nicely for me, I was in the right spots so it’s nice to have a good night.”
The training effort of the evening came from Chris So Wai-yin, whose patience paid off as Lakeshore Eagle flashed home under the guidance of Douglas Whyte to salute on debut.
So had the horse in his stable for just over seven months before taking him to the races, rewarding the restraint of first-time owner Danny Chiang Ping-fai.
“We’ve spent a lot of time on this horse – he just needed time to develop,” So, who took the gelding to Conghua for two-and-a-half months, said.
“After a couple of trials last year it seemed like the horse had gone backwards and I explained to the owner that I couldn’t keep pushing with him. It’s not my style.
Lakeshore Eagle becomes the first horse out of Conghua to win on career debut. The 4yo looks a useful prospect, scooting down the inner to score for @DJWhyteJockey and trainer Chris So. #HKracing #HappyWednesday pic.twitter.com/c7zV3sKigx— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) November 28, 2018
“I said to the owner that we had to give him time and bring him back next season and respect to him, he let me do everything I wanted.
“This season, he came back well, his trials had been perfect and I told the owner that I thought he would run well and if he won, I wouldn’t be surprised.”
The win is So’s seventh of the term after a rough beginning that has also included 24 placegetters.
“I’ve got a lot of horses like him in my stable, a lot of new blood and you can’t push them. We have to wait,” he said.
“We’ve had a slow start to the season but hopefully we increase the number of winners now.”
Caspar Fownes continued his good form, snatching his second Valley double in consecutive weeks after Fearless Fire and Smart Baby saluted.
Fearless Fire was yet to place in his first 11 Hong Kong starts after a solid start to his career in Britain, but Zac Purton got the best out of him to claim the fourth race.
“He just needed a little bit of time,” Fownes said.
“Zac thought he’d be fifth or sixth in the run, so I said take a chance and see what happens, and as it turned out he was going to get caught wide so he slid forward and sat outside the leader.
“The horse is very fit, he should have been a little too good for Class Four and it was a good effort.”
Victor Wong Chun was the other rider to enjoy a good night, finishing with a double after steering home Tony Cruz’s Multimax in the opener and Telecom Brothers for Me Tsui Yu-sak in the Class Three Glasgow Handicap (1,000m).
The last event of the night saw the David Ferraris-trained Fantastic Feeling storm over the top of his rivals for Neil Callan.