John Moore’s promising stayer Enjoying is out of the BMW Hong Kong Derby after failing to prove his fitness in a trackwork gallop on Friday.
Stewards required the four-year-old to wear an ECG (electrocardiogram) for three consecutive gallops in the lead-up to the HK$20 million contest after displaying signs of “a brief episode of an irregular heart rhythm” following a piece of work in late February.
Enjoying, who won two Group Twos in Australia when racing as Global Exchange, needed to pass all three to take his place in the field, but didn’t make it beyond the first step after an international expert was brought in to analyse the results from Friday’s initial test.
“We got specialist veterinary advice in regards to the readings that were taken during work – a searching gallop – [on Friday],” chief steward Kim Kelly said.
“It was agreed by John Moore that the horse was found to be displaying an irregular heart rhythm during its trackwork and accordingly [Enjoying] will be withdrawn from next Sunday’s Derby.
“Mr Moore advised the stewards that it is not intended for Enjoying to resume track work in the immediate future. As such, the stewards are not required at this time to determine as to what tests or examinations Enjoying will be required to undertake prior to being permitted to race again.”
Ricky Yiu Poon-fai’s World Famous gets promoted from the reserve list into the field, while it means star Australian jockey Hugh Bowman won’t be able to defend his Derby crown after saluting last year with Furore.
While Moore was disappointed with Enjoying’s withdrawal, he still managed to pick up a winner at Sha Tin on Saturday with Gala Night capturing the Class Four Tsuek Luk Handicap (1,800m).
Size snares double after run of seconds
John Size has had to endure a tougher season than normal, but he took the training honours at Sha Tin with Juneau Park and Raging Blitzkrieg both getting the chocolates.
The 11-time champion has recorded 47 seconds this term – 11 more than any other trainer – while Saturday’s double lifted him to sixth on the table with 28 victories.
Raging Blitzkrieg (Chad Schofield) won easily on the dirt but Juneau Park (Joao Moreira) only just got home in the fourth event as a $1.50 favourite.
Speaking of people having a tough run of placings, the horse edged out by Juneau Park, Ka Ying Excellent, was ridden by Blake Shinn.
In the past two months, the Australian has one win and an unfathomable 21 placings. He also had another narrow second on Harmony Victory in the Class One feature.
Size has said previously “you can’t get the winners without the seconds in Hong Kong”. Things might be starting to turn for Size and hopefully they do for Shinn as well.
Multimax keeps on plugging away
Peter Ho Leung’s veteran Multimax is no star, but he’s a horse you would love to own.
The eight-year-old just keeps fronting up – he’s had 78 starts across six seasons – and on Saturday he recorded his eighth victory.
Multimax started his career off in terrific fashion, winning three of his first five starts. Fun fact: in his fourth win near the end of the 2015-16 season, he edged out a young D B Pin, who went on to win a Group One sprint. Their careers went in opposite directions after that, but that result is forever on his record.
On Saturday, apprentice Victor Wong Chun took the gelding straight to the front in the Class Five Ng Fong Handicap (1,200m) and he was never headed, fighting off a challenge from The Abraxas in the straight.
The result continues Wong’s excellent return from a long injury lay-off, the 25-year-old now having notched a win at each of the past three meetings.
Welcome back Vagner Borges
Vagner Borges secured eight rides for his first day back in Hong Kong and picked up another on the afternoon but it was a case of quantity rather than quality for the Brazilian, with seven of his mounts jumping $44 or longer.
He couldn’t finish better than 10th aboard Tigerlad ($44), Notting Huw ($397), General Dino ($25), Home Made ($208), Dark Dream ($44) and Mongolian Legend ($69), but will take heart from some of his efforts.
Mongolian King ($16) was his shortest-priced runner of the day and he showed what he’s capable of when given some horse to work with, finishing second, while he wasn’t too far off the winners despite not placing aboard Comfort Life ($48) and Eligere ($114).
It is the 26-year-old’s second short-term stint in Hong Kong and he is licensed until June 14.
Fownes’ Legend delayed
A shipment of imports from Australia containing Boniface Ho Ka-kui’s star sprinter Classique Legend has been delayed after one of the other horses returned a testing irregularity.
The Jockey Club confirmed an inconclusive test led to the postponement of the flight, and that the test will need to be performed again before the shipment can be cleared to travel.
Classique Legend, who finished sixth in last year’s The Everest, is bound for Caspar Fownes’ stable and was supposed to arrive in Hong Kong on Sunday with 14 other horses.
The shipment features eight private purchases (previously raced gallopers) and seven private purchase griffins.
Seasons Bloom heads to retirement
Danny Shum Chap-shing’s Group One winner Seasons Bloom has been retired.
The decision came after the gelding, who won the Group Two Premier Bowl (1,200m) in October, was facing an extended period of reduced exercise after being diagnosed with right front fetlock lesions.
Seasons Bloom’s best moment on the track came in January 2018 when he defeated the likes of Werther and Beauty Generation in the Group One Stewards’ Cup (1,600m).
After winning one of his two starts in Australia when known as Le Capitaine, Seasons Bloom finishes his Hong Kong career with seven wins and six placings from 29 starts, collecting HK$25,257,525 in prize money.