Rising star Carroll Street flashed his enormous potential with a brilliant win at Sha Tin on Wednesday night, upstaging another boom sprinter in Winner Method and continuing the red-hot form of trainer Douglas Whyte and his apprentice Jerry Chau Chun-lok.
The talented three-year-old came into the race with two wins from his three starts but he was a clear second elect at $4.7 as punters gravitated to the Danny Shum Chap-shing-trained Winner Method, who jumped a $1.3 chance to collect his fourth consecutive victory in the Class Three Grass Island Handicap (1,000m).
But with 400m to go those prices should’ve been reversed as Carroll Street cruised up to his rival while Winner Method felt the pinch of a 15-pound weight pull.
In the end the one-length victory was soft but the time certainly wasn’t, with Carroll Street stopping the clock in a slick 55.36 seconds – .99 under standard – while Winner Method joins Gallant Express as the shortest-priced favourite to go under this season.
This is impressive!— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) May 12, 2021
In Sha Tin's first turf race run at night since 2014, Carroll Street & @JerryChau15 slip away to hand the unbeaten Winner Method his first taste of defeat. #HKracing pic.twitter.com/XC8t48oqvV
The result ensured Whyte maintains his terrific recent run – he has six wins from the past three meetings – and gives him an exciting prospect for next season.
“You’re never confident – Danny’s horse was unbeaten, he looks a good sprinter in the making so you can never be too bullish but at the weights, I knew I’d have a reasonable chance,” Whyte said.
“The thing that satisfied me the most was the fact he could lay up with them and not get too far out of his ground.
“He’s been a bit wayward at the gates and he’s always had to make a run at them – which he does do – but when you get up in class and you start giving ground, it makes it more difficult when it comes to the finish line. I’m glad to see that he bounced the gates and he was in contention and when he pressed the button, he kicked.
“He hasn’t been the flashiest in times up until tonight but I’ve known all along what ability he has got. He’s a very young individual that has just needed a bit of time. He’s certainly finding his way.
“I’ll assess him but ultimately I’d like to stop him now and bring him back next season. He’s done a fantastic job. He’s just done everything correctly from the word go and mentally he hasn’t even woken up yet – he’s just a baby. He’ll be a nice prospect for next season.”
The win meant a bit to Chau, who showed a rare bit of emotion with a big fist pump as he crossed the line.
“He won on it first time and he couldn’t do the weight when Vincent hopped on [and won on him last start],” Whyte said of the 21-year-old.
“I had to give myself the best chance of beating Winner Method by claiming the extra five. Jerry knows the horse, he’s riding with extreme confidence and he’s the main go-to guy for my stable.”
Chau continued his exceptional form two races later by lifting Gallant Legacy home to give Michael Chang Chun-wai his seventh victory of the campaign and help him cling to the hope he can reach the performance benchmark of 16 wins and avoid his first strike.
The most visually impressive performance of the night came from the Tony Millard-trained Gold Comet, who dominated the Class Four Tiu Chung Chau Handicap (1,650m) to win by an astonishing nine lengths.
It was the biggest margin of the season, smashing the previous best of five and a half lengths set by Hongkong Great at the same course and distance on Sunday, while the half-brother to 2007 Dubai World Cup winner Invasor also broke the class record in the process.
It was the first of a double for championship-leading jockey Joao Moreira, who also tasted success with Super Winner, while Karis Teetan also took home a brace, bookending the card with Jade Theatre and Man Star.