David Hayes’ late father Colin was close to his heart as he made the perfect return to Hong Kong racing on Sunday, with the Australian celebrating Father’s Day with a winner with his first runner.
Sporting his legendary dad’s tie, Hayes kicked off his second stint in Hong Kong by taking out the Class Five Kowloon Peak Handicap (1,200m) with Moneymore and his thoughts turned straight to the family patriarch.
“It’s Father’s Day [in Australia] and I’m wearing my late father’s tie to bring me a bit of luck,” Hayes said. “My son [Ben] had a winner [today] as well and we’re all thinking of my father on this day.”
Hayes continued a remarkable trend by saluting with the first horse he saddled up on Sunday – he was also victorious with his first ever runner as a trainer, his first Hong Kong runner in 1995 and his first runner on his return to Australia in 2005.
Well done, David Hayes!— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) September 6, 2020
The two-time champion trainer gets a winner with his first runner, just as he did 25 years ago as Moneymore charges home for Keith Yeung. #SeasonOpener #HKracing pic.twitter.com/qvftwV1iuV
There was plenty of symmetry between Moneymore’s win in Sunday’s second event and Hayes’ breakthrough Hong Kong victory with Esteemed over 1,200m back in the 90s.
“I think it was race two and a Class Five 25 years ago. It’s a long time to remember, but it’s a really big thrill,” said a beaming Hayes. “This is really special because it’s a new chapter for me, I’m very excited.”
While Hayes tried to temper expectations around Moneymore during the week, punters still sent the six-year-old off a $4.20 favourite as he attempted to win his first race at start 23.
After settling behind midfield with cover under jockey Keith Yeung Ming-lun, the seas parted for Moneymore at the top of the straight and he wore down the leaders to salute by a half-length.
“I’m especially happy for Keith, he’d done a lot of work on the horse and he was very confident going into it and he rode the horse perfectly,” Hayes said.