Chris So Wai-yin continued his good record with Class Four debutants as Good News delivered in the Chengdu Handicap (1,200m) after an avalanche of money for him late.
The popular trainer has had 14 victories from 110 first-starters in the grade over the course of his career, striking at a smart 12.7 per cent, but Good News looks more than just a one-win wonder.
Star jockey Zac Purton settled the four-year-old son of Rios second in running, hitting the front early in the straight and holding off the challenge from My Ecstatic, despite doing a few things wrong.
The result was a big relief for So, particularly given Good News was crunched into $1.40 at the jump.
“There was a lot of pressure – everybody put their money on,” So said. “He was handling everything [at trackwork] and everything was all right, so we wanted to send him to the races and try to win as soon as possible. When the horse is showing you and the owners that performance [in the mornings] you have to push.
“The horse is good, since last year at the trials he has showed that in his performance. His last trial he ran third and the two in front were almost both over 100 points. After that everybody gave him a lot of support.”
Good News will take plenty from the experience and should progress through the grades – at least that’s the plan.
“He’s a nice one, he should go further in the future – I hope he can improve and keep going,” So said.
“After this run he should be better. I was so worried because even when a horse trials well and everything is good in the morning, in a real race everything is totally different and there are a lot of different pressures for a horse with no experience.”
It was the first of a double for the stable, who also tasted success with Copartner Era in the Class Four Nanning Handicap (1,600m) with Vagner Borges in the saddle.
Size’s smart speedster can keep climbing
Drops Of God continued his march up the ratings in the Class Three Tianjin Handicap (1,200m) and trainer John Size is confident there is more to come from the four-year-old.
After falling a length short of victory as the $2.30 favourite 12 days ago, Drops Of God was again well found at $2.5 and travelled beautifully just off leader Quadruple Double under Joao Moreira before putting the race away with minimum fuss in the straight.
“His first run was good, it was just his first run and he’s obviously come on a little bit from that. He’s got a little bit more experience, he was regulated well today and he had a leader to look at, so everything was in his favour,” Size said.
Drops Of God has now won half his six starts and the son of Mossman will graduate into Class Two.
“He’s got a good record for a Hong Kong horse so he’s not going to stop where he is, he is going to go a little bit further,” Size said.
Drops Of God provided a welcome second winner for the season for the 11-time champion trainer and it is the first time since the final day of last season that the prolific Size-Moreira combination has hit the board.
“It’s obviously not a very good start but it’s October 1 so I’ve still got some time left,” said Size with a hint of a wry smile.
️ "Right over the top, pricks the ears and gee that's an arrogant win from Xiang Yin!"— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) October 1, 2021
You heard @tommentatornz... @FCLOR_RACING's charge scores in style for @KarisTeetan! #HKracing pic.twitter.com/bkbzEGOVrO
Lor continues solid start with double
The ever-consistent Frankie Lor Fu-chuen moved up to equal third in the early rounds of the fight for the trainers’ premiership with a double thanks to victories from Xiang Yin and All For St Paul’s.
Lor, who has remarkably trained 65 winners in three of his four full seasons as a trainer and 44 in the other, now has six victories in 2021-22, tied with Dennis Yip Chor-hong and behind David Hayes (12) and Danny Shum Chap-shing (seven).
The injury-prone Xiang Yin broke his maiden at start 15 in the Class Four Jinan Handicap (1,400m), his first Hong Kong success coming 957 days after he ran 11th on debut under Tommy Berry in February 2019.
Sent out a $10.50 chance, Xiang Yin travelled behind midfield under Karis Teetan before letting down impressively in the straight to defeat Size’s Country Boy by two lengths.
All For St Paul’s notched his fifth win at start 23 in the Class Three Chongqing Handicap (1,600m), travelling outside leader Mission Bravo under Matthew Poon Ming-fai from the widest alley.
Favourite Tianchi Monster tracked All For St Paul’s into the straight and pulled out to challenge but the $6.45 chance was up for the fight, digging deep to salute by a length with Leap Of Faith in third.
Dynamic duo of Mo, Chang go the full Monte
The infrequent combination of Dylan Mo Hin-tung and Michael Chang Chun-wai collected just their second win together as Mister Monte wound back the clock to cause an upset in the Class Five Shenyang Handicap (1,800m).
Before Friday, Mo and Chang had joined forces on just 62 occasions over the past five years – only three have started single-figure prices – for just one winner, Charitydream in September last year.
But they doubled that tally when Mister Monte provided the shock of the day by saluting at $58.
From barrier 10, Mo rolled forward to sit outside the early leader Cigar Buddies and then kicked at the top of the straight, holding off the fast-finishing Daily Charm late with Jolly Forever back in third.
The win gave Chang his third winner of the season – a third of his overall tally from last campaign – while it was Mo’s first of the term.
It leaves Keith Yeung Ming-lun, Tony Piccone, Jack Wong Ho-nam and Victor Wong Chun as the only riders yet to get on the board after the eight meetings.