It says something about Danny Shum Chap-shing’s opinion of Romantic Warrior that he was more animated when talking about the smart three-year-old’s second win than the 700th of his training career.
Romantic Warrior continued the unbeaten start to his career with an impressive victory in the Class Four Murrayfield Handicap (1,200m), the win seeing Shum become just the ninth Hong Kong trainer to reach the 700 milestone.
“It means I have to work harder, it’s not bad but it’s not great for 18 years,” said the 61-year-old, who begun his training career in the 2003-04 season. “It’s about 40 winners a season, I need to do better actually.”
Romantic Warrior was explosive late in his second Happy Valley win on the trot, motoring up the inside under Joao Moreira, and Shum is ready to test the gelding at Sha Tin.
“He’s got a good turn of foot, he’s just very easy to control this horse – he’s very good. I’ll send him to Sha Tin now, I have to talk to Joao to see whether we go to 1,200m or 1,400m,” he said.
Moreira has been in the saddle for both Romantic Warrior’s victories and is looking forward to staying aboard for the ride.
“He’s got a lot of ability. I think the handicapper will need some time to stop him winning races,” said Moreira, who completed a double with the victory after earlier saluting aboard Frankie Lor Fu-chuen’s We The South.
On a night Karis Teetan needed to dominate to thrust himself into International Jockeys’ Championship reckoning, it was Zac Purton who took the riding honours with a treble.
Purton got the chocolates aboard the David Hall-trained Yee Cheong Warrior and Francis Lui Kin-wai’s Run The Table early on the card before taking out the Class Two Bruntsfield Handicap (1,200m) with Scores Of Fun.
It was Scores Of Fun’s second win on the bounce and continued a blistering start to the season for Purton, who now has 40 winners after 22 meetings.
Teetan, who won the IJC in 2019, entered the night needing at least three wins to overtake Alexis Badel in third spot in the jockeys’ premiership and qualify for the IJC but couldn’t manage one, the Frenchman ramming home his advantage with victory aboard Lui’s Cheerful Days, who completed a hat-trick of wins in the Class Three Inverleith Park Handicap (1,650m).
“That’s very cool, I knew I was in good form and I had the momentum, so it’s good to be riding in the competition again and I am looking forward to it. It’s great,” said Badel, who finished joint-third in last year’s IJC with Hollie Doyle, behind winner Purton and runner-up Moreira.
Matthew Chadwick needed a miracle to mow down Vincent Ho Chak-yiu’s four-win lead as the leading local but had to settle for a single success aboard Lor’s Flaming Passion, meaning Ho and Badel will join Moreira and Purton in representing Hong Kong in the IJC at Happy Valley on December 8.
Lor and Lui were the trainers with doubles, Lor moving to 23 victories for the season to extend his lead in the trainers’ championship and Lui jumping up into second spot on 17.
“I always try my best to win for the owners, if the horses are in good form and they get a good draw they have a good chance,” a modest Lor said after Flaming Passion’s second win in a row.
The father and son combination of trainer David and jockey Luke Ferraris snared their second win as a duo thanks to Charizard’s victory in the Class Four St Andrew’s Challenge Quaich (1,650m), the rider’s fifth winner of his maiden Hong Kong campaign.
“Winning makes it all the more enjoyable but it is one of the toughest jurisdictions to do well in. I’m pretty pleased at the way things are going. You always hope things could be better, but it’s nice to get a win,” Luke Ferraris said.
“All credit to Dad, he’s freshened him up really well. The horse is difficult to train. You’ve got to keep him fresh while keeping him fit without making him too flat – so, it’s a real balancing act.”