It was an emotional Caspar Fownes who stole the show early on FWD Champions Day at Sha Tin on Sunday, with the 54-year-old close to tears after training his 1,000th winner in the opening race.

Fownes joins John Moore (1,735 wins), John Size (1,395) and Tony Cruz (1,393) as the only Hong Kong trainers to reach the magic milestone and he was quick to spread the love.

“It’s something to be proud of. I would not have got here without a lot of people that have helped me through my life,” he said after Lucky Quality’s win.

“I’m very happy that we’ve hit the big 1,000 and I’m looking forward to continuing to win some good races with my team and all the hard work we’ve done together.

“A big shout out to my wife [Alix], she’s my driving force, pushing me to be very successful – and my boys [Ronan, Ryan and Riley] – and I love her for that.

“We’ve been blessed, we’ve had so many good horses. There have been so many highlights, my first winner [Champion Boy] at the start of my career – it was game on from then.”

Fownes took the reins from his father Lawrie ahead of the 2003-04 season and while that initial success came in Class Five, he has gone on to taste Group One glory with stars such as Green Birdie, Lucky Nine, The Duke and Southern Legend.

Fownes has twice won the Hong Kong Derby – with Super Satin in 2010 and Sky Darci last season – and is a four-time champion trainer.

Trainer Caspar Fownes celebrates Lucky Quality’s victory with jockey Alfred Chan at Sha Tin on Sunday.

“It is special. There are great trainers here and I look forward to the next few years,” he said.

Fownes is confident there is plenty more success to come, saying he has made a strategic shift in recent times that he is confident will drive him forward.

“I’ve been a very loyal person. I could have probably trained another 300-400 winners easily but I’ve kept horses with friends and kept them a little bit beyond their due date, so I’ve started to run it like a business and we’ll get cracking and I’m excited about what’s ahead of us,” he said.

“I like to train for good people, have fun – you’ve got to enjoy the moments, Covid has taught us that – so it’s nice to get a few owners back on track. I was unfortunate that I couldn’t have my family around me for that good moment.”

Lucky Quality’s victory came in the Class Four Oriental Express Handicap (1,200m), with the five-year-old travelling in the box seat under Alfred Chan Ka-hei before surging away from his rivals in the straight to defeat Fighting Star by three and a quarter lengths.

It was the galloper’s second win from his past four starts and Chan’s second on the bounce after he took out the finale at Happy Valley on Wednesday night aboard Gorytus.

It was Chan’s 14th victory of the season, six of which have come for Fownes.