High-profile youngsters Big Party and Thanks Forever were all the rage heading into the Class Two Hong Kong Reunification Cup (1,200m) at Sha Tin on Monday, but their bubbles were burst by 41-1 shot Green Energy.
Punters thought it was going to be a match race between the two boom three-year-olds, but instead it was Danny Shum Chap-shing’s injury-plagued veteran who came out on top.
Thanks Forever ($3.30) did edge out Big Party ($1.70) on the line, but that was inconsequential as they finished sixth and seventh.
It was Green Energy’s day to shine as the six-year-old returned from seven months on the sidelines, flashing the ability he’d shown in a win and a second earlier in the season.
A left front tendon injury almost ended his career, but the understanding owner was rewarded for his patience.
“After two really hard races he got injured – so the situation was bad and I sent him to Conghua,” Shum said.
“I talked to the owner and I said I wanted to retire him – I didn’t want to see him struggle. But he was very generous and told me to take my time and not to worry, just do my job and give the horse what he needed. Finally, we got him back.
“He has ability, he had a good draw so I told the owner even at $40, he’s got a good chance. Don’t worry about the odds. He shouldn’t have been that price.”
The win was also a drought-breaker for Dylan Mo Hin-tung – his first in two-and-a-half months – with the 25-year-old giving him a peach of a ride from the inside gate.
Green Energy settled in the box seat before switching off heels at the top of the straight, holding off the late challenges of Glorious Spectrum and Raging Storm.
“Dylan did a good job. He knows the horse well so I gave him a chance,” Shum said. “He just had to follow the speed and he would give a kick. Which is what happened.
“The horse is not 100 per cent fit. I will run him again in the Class Two on the last day. He’s a nice horse – we saw that earlier in the season.”
While Shum was delighted with the result, John Moore has advised punters to put a line through Thanks Forever’s effort.
“Thanks Forever, just forget the run, he never seemed comfortable, he was wondering around and didn’t hit the line like I thought,” Moore said.
“He pulled up well and sound but I will tell all racegoers just forget the run and he will run 1,400m on the last day.”
Zac Purton was more concerned about the welfare of the Frankie Lor Fu-chuen-trained Big Party, a horse who has already experienced soundness issues.
“He didn’t feel right in his action when I let him go,” Purton said. “I know I was three-wide but I had cover, he travelled into it well but he just hurts.
“The track today was really hard and he didn’t enjoy that. He is a horse that is really going to need to be managed well.”