Captain Win will bypass next weekend’s BMW Hong Kong Derby (2,000m) after finishing second to Winning Method in the Class Two Pat Sin Leng Handicap (1,400m) at Sha Tin on Saturday.
Captain Win was comfortably in the Derby field on a rating of 80 and trainer David Hall said during the week that he didn’t need to win to warrant pushing onto Hong Kong’s most prestigious race, but he was hoping the step back to 1,400m would help his galloper relax.
“He’s just doing the same thing all the time, he’s pulling his head off,” Hall said. “[Marces Lee Tze-bun is] an experienced owner who has been around for a long time and the preparation hasn’t gone perfectly for the Derby, so you don’t want to ruin your horse.
“He’s got good potential and it hasn’t worked out so we’ll concentrate on winning a couple of races and hopefully he’s going to be a good horse next year.”
Great ride! 🙌 Winning Method charges home to grab the nightcap for @mattLchadwixk & Danny Shum. #HKracing pic.twitter.com/9q45vGmpc7— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) March 12, 2022
Travelling just forward of midfield under Matthew Poon Ming-fai, Captain Win again raced keenly and was there to be shot down late after going for home at the top of the straight.
Winning Method grabbed the son of Toronado inside the final 50m – handing him his third runner-up finish from seven Hong Kong starts – and while it wasn’t the performance Hall wanted to see from a Derby perspective, he’s confident there are big races in Captain Win’s future.
“He’s run second today, held all the others off after working so hard early, so there’s still plenty of merit in his performance,” Hall said.
“He can attack a big race another day when everything is going as it should be. Now that we’ve made the decision we’ll just sit down and let the horse tell us how quickly he wants to go back to the races.
Captain Win caps a double in tandem for @zpurton & David Hall! ✌️ #HKracing pic.twitter.com/QeKlxqnPJw— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) November 21, 2021
“It’s all been about trying to go to the Derby so we can forget about that and make sure he’s 100 per cent. To win a Class Two race and get a [high-achievement] bonus will be a consolation instead of running in a Derby.”
As for victor Winning Method, he notched a milestone with his first Class Two victory – the sixth win of his career overall after three in Class Three and two in Griffin company.
The Danny Shum Chap-shing-trained five-year-old powered home after cornering near the back of the field under Matthew Chadwick to salute as a $22 chance.
Two for Treadmill
Packing Treadmill maintained his unbeaten record and Zac Purton and Francis Lui Kin-wai continued their phenomenal season in the Class Four Ting Kok Handicap (1,200m).
After saluting on debut under Purton last month, Packing Treadmill made it two from two with a comfortable victory.
Purton positioned Packing Treadmill just off the leader Happily Friends from gate nine before moving up outside the pacesetter as they cornered and proving far too strong for his rivals in the straight, finishing two and a half lengths clear of runner-up Science Patch.
Easy as you like! Packing Treadmill bolts in to hand @zpurton a double. 🔥 #HKracing pic.twitter.com/bhRQF5Abuv— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) March 12, 2022
“He’s a bit of surprise, this horse, because he’s so relaxed,” Lui said. “He shows very little in the morning on the track and in the parade ring today he was walking around and looked like he was asleep.”
Packing Treadmill was the only galloper Purton and Lui combined with for the afternoon and the three-year-old’s victory means they now have 16 winners from 31 attempts as a duo this term at a strike rate of 52 per cent.
Horror week for Maia
After booting home six winners to make February the biggest month of his Hong Kong career, March has been a nightmare so far for Ruan Maia after the Brazilian was hit with his second suspension in the space of four days.
After copping a two-meeting suspension and a HK$30,000 fine for careless riding aboard Prime Star at Happy Valley on Wednesday night, Maia received another two meetings and a further HK$45,000 hit to his hip pocket for his effort aboard Win Win Fighter on Saturday.
Maia is without a winner in March so far and with the first of his bans to begin on March 30, he’ll be looking to change that sooner rather than later.
Five for Price Bloodstock
While Karis Teetan banged in four winners and Zac Purton and John Size managed hat-tricks at Sha Tin on Saturday afternoon, Price Bloodstock trumped them all by snaring five victories.
One of the leading bloodstock agents in Hong Kong, Price Bloodstock purchases took out half the card, including Class One contests with Champion’s Way and Sight Success.
Big win, Copartner Ambition! 💥 @zpurton seals a treble as the Starspangledbanner gelding lets rip down the outside! #HKracing pic.twitter.com/FastpyTubs— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) March 12, 2022
Smart up-and-coming trio Brilliant Way, Packing Treadmill and Copartner Ambition also got the chocolates to cap the biggest haul for Price Bloodstock since it began sourcing gallopers for Hong Kong owners 25 years ago.
“We’re up to 760 winners and 50 for the year and that’s the first time we’ve ever had five,” David Price said. “To have five in a day is just unbelievable and it’s even better when it involves two Class One horses.”