A pair of promising three-year-olds impressed at Sha Tin on Sunday, with Tony Millard labelling Enchanting Ibis “a little bit special” and Caspar Fownes backing Wonderful Warrior to win his way through to Class Two company.

After disappointing on debut, Enchanting Ibis produced a nice second in a trial behind Nervous Witness – who snared the Class Two sprint later on the card – and was a different horse making the step up from 1,000m to 1,200m in the Class Four Tai O Handicap.

“We were a little bit disappointed in his first run but he came today and showed us what we thought of him originally – he’s a very nice horse. To actually do what he did today, they’ve got to be a little bit special,” Millard said.

“He won very well. Sometimes in those 1,000m [races] you can get run over and that’s what happened first start. We didn’t take into account that we would get such a bad draw [today] but we overcame the draw and the best thing is that he won the race.”

Sent off a juicy $45.20, Enchanting Ibis travelled third last from barrier 11 under Frenchman Antoine Hamelin before cornering widest of all and mowing down his rivals to salute by two and a quarter lengths.

It was Hamelin’s first win for a month and Millard complimented his effort aboard the son of Unencumbered.

“He rode well, he rode to instructions and that’s all that any trainer could wish for,” Millard said, adding that he won’t be changing a winning formula with Enchanting Ibis.

“I will definitely keep him here for another couple of starts then we’ll see. He’s got the pedigree that he should get 1,600m at a later stage but he’s just won, so why change anything.”

While Enchanting Ibis’ followers were handsomely rewarded, there wasn’t much fat on the bone for the backers of Wonderful Warrior, who was hammered into $1.65 in the final minutes of betting.

After travelling just off leader Cheval Valiant before hitting the front at the 200m, Wonderful Warrior gave his supporters a fright in the closing strides of the Class Four Siu Ho Wan Handicap (1,000m), clinging on to beat the fast-finishing Flying High ($17) by a nose.

David Hayes eyes first Group test for victorious Nervous Witness

“He’s a nice horse. He’s the type of horse I think that has the chance to go on with it because he’s still a little bit immature,” Fownes said.

“He’s always shown us something nice in the mornings, he’s a physically good-looking horse with a lot of scope so he could be quite nice for next season, so we’ll just let him get through the grades nicely.

Wonderful Warrior (left) holds off Flying High to win on Sunday.

“If they can win their first start, they’re always a chance to get into Class Three and be competitive.

“In my mind, I always thought he’d be a horse who could hit 80 points, obviously he’s a long way off that but hopefully we can just get him there with each progression.”

Wonderful Warrior’s victory was jockey Joao Moreira’s 99th of the season and the Magic Man became the first rider to reach the century later on the card when he saluted aboard the John Size-trained Running Glory in the Class Three Sha Lo Wan Handicap (1,800m).

Moreira leads rival Zac Purton by one in the jockeys’ championship, while Running Glory will find himself in Class Two company after his fourth win in five starts.

“It’s nice to hit that mark – fantastic,” Moreira said. “I’m very proud, very pleased. There is no doubt I would not be getting there without all the support I’ve got and it’s a mark which, sooner than later, I want to leave far behind.

“[Running Glory is] such a genuine horse. He tries so hard so it’s not a surprise that he won today. He had a beautiful run through the race and he needed just a little bit of luck. I’m just a lucky boy to be steering him.”

Doing it for Douglas

Lyle Hewitson delivered the goods for Douglas Whyte for the second meeting in a row on Sunday, controlling proceedings from the front to salute aboard Natural Gold in the first section of the Class Four Tong Fuk Handicap (1,400m).

“The winning move was that he took the initiative to roll forward and the horse got into a very comfortable rhythm, pricked his ears and didn’t spend an ounce of energy out in front,” Whyte said.

Trainer Douglas Whyte and jockey Lyle Hewitson enjoy another winner.

“A very tactical ride, a clever ride – from the gate it looked awkward when we were doing the speed map but he made it look easy in the end.”

South African Hewitson is building a nice partnership with his countryman with all five of the 24-year-old’s victories this season coming for the third-season trainer.

As for Natural Gold, he broke his maiden at start seven after finishing second last start and Whyte feels there is more to come from the four-year-old.

“He’s very immature mentally, being by Pins he was always going to take a little bit of time,” he said.

“The breed seems to get better the more experience they have. He’s only been with me a short space of time but in the time he’s been with me he’s improved every time I’ve either sat on him or taken him to the races.

“He’s had a few excuses so his form does read a bit ordinary but he’s tried his best every time he’s stepped out.”