The mega-rich Triple Trio finally went off at Sha Tin on Sunday but much like finding the winning combination, paying out the HK$106 million bounty was not straightforward.
Successful punters were forced to wait roughly 90 minutes for their spoils after the “dividend calculation process” took longer than expected, with bettors investing heavily as they chased the HK$61 million jackpot.
While the Triple Trio finished in race six, race nine was about to jump when the winning dividend of HK$23,047,784 was finally posted, with the Jockey Club offering no assurance to punters in the interim.
“Due to the significant volume of tickets of Triple Trio, the dividend calculation process has taken longer than expected. Additional computer resources has been assigned in a way to ensure no impact on ongoing dividend payout process of other races,” it said in a statement.
Jockey Club chief executive Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges admitted “it seems to be on the face of it a major capacity issue” in the system used to calculate the dividends and confirmed a review will be undertaken.
“It’s a very unusual situation. It took much longer so therefore what are the variables compared to [the last pool of this size] 10 or 15 years ago?” Engelbrecht-Bresges said.
“It is much more online – there has never been as much traffic online and they had to add additional capacity to shorten the time in which the process could be completed.
“When you send a message, you want to be able to confirm what the outcome is and the biggest issue is when it’s complete. In this exercise, we thought it would be better to send our message out when the process was complete,” he added regarding the period of silence from officials.
The Triple Trio was run and won in less time than it took for the payout to be processed and punters were sitting pretty after the opening leg, with Sure Win Win ($7.30), Dragon Commander ($3.70) and Regency Gem ($6.10) filling the placings, but the second hurdle proved too much for many.
While Packing Award saluted as a $4.90 second elect, Ultimate Glory ($34) and Golden Bolt ($11) crossed the line behind him to leave only HK$2,598 worth of tickets still in play.
Fairy Floss ($3.10), Super Fast ($8.30) and Lady First ($6.50) ensured HK$46 of winning tickets struck the jackpot and it was a pair of winning rides that were the talking point on track.
While in the past three seasons just two horses (from 49) had won out of barrier 14 from the 1,650m start on the Sha Tin all-weather surface, that number doubled on Sunday.
Jerry Chau Chun-lok was the first to turn heads with his effort aboard Sure Win Win in the Class Five Yan Tin Handicap (1,650m), finding the rail just behind midfield from the outside alley before slipping up the inside of his rivals in the straight.
“He rode it perfectly, it was just a brilliant ride,” trainer Benno Yung Tin-pang said.
After the David Hayes-trained Packing Award saluted under Zac Purton in the Class Four On Yam Handicap (1,400m) on the turf, Joao Moreira got in on the act aboard Fairy Floss from the widest gate in the Class Four Ping Tin Handicap (1,650m).
After taking Fairy Floss back to last, the Brazilian worked off the rail cornering for home, found clear air 300m out and rattled through the line.
“It was an excellent ride from Joao Moreira – absolutely outstanding – I said to Joao ‘you can show your grandchildren that ride’,” trainer Paul O’Sullivan said. “When he drew 14 I thought ‘that’s Joao’s problem’. It was a good effort to win.”