Gorgeous Vitality delivered a knockout blow to his rivals after almost doing the same to jockey Zac Purton at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
The Australian rider was left with a bloodied nose after Frankie Lor Fu-chuen’s runner reared his head as the field was being loaded for the Class Four Kennedy Handicap (1,000m).
It took a few minutes before Purton, with the help of the medical team, was able to stem the blood and climb back aboard the heavily-backed $2.5 favourite, with punters left delighted as the pair came home wide-margin winners by three and a half lengths.
“Because it had started lightly raining, there was obviously a little bit of water on my goggles” Purton said. “When I put them on I was wiping the water off, I couldn’t see and as soon as I moved my hand, he just whacked me in the head.
“He’s always a bit tricky, he’s got a bit of an attitude and I just didn’t see it coming. I didn’t think [the nose] was broken [after the fall in the Hong Kong Sprint] in December and it was broken then but there’s enough blood there for it to be broken.”
Elsewhere on the card, Derek Leung Ka-chun continued his run of good form when Pleasant Endeavor landed the second section of the Class Four Magazine Gap Handicap (1,200m).
The win by the improving four-year-old means Leung has now ridden at least one winner at the past nine meetings and he is just one behind last season’s total of 39, with the rider keen to thank the providers of his rides.
“I’ve very lucky to find some winners,” Leung said. “The trainers have been supporting me, so I’m thankful for that and I hope it can continue. I just keep working hard.”
Pleasant Endeavor’s trainer Ricky Yiu Poon-fai was delighted with the win and has been thrilled with the way that Leung has taken his chances this season.
“This season the combination between Derek and I has worked out well,” Yiu said. “He’s ridden 12 winners for me, so nearly a third of his winners have been for me.”
Yiu expects better to come from Pleasant Endeavor, who was winning for the first time since April 2021 but now appears to have his career back on track after a string of disappointing efforts this season.
“He’s a pretty talented horse,” Yiu said. “He won a couple of races last season when he was three and this season I think he is slowly maturing. I think he can win more races.”
Trainer Peter Ho Leung has struggled this season but he has a good horse on his hands in the shape of Packing Award.
The four-year-old, who won the second section of the Class Three Caine Handicap (1,650m), has now been successful in four of his past eight races.
He will be nudging Class Two company and could possibly be Ho’s highest-rated runner, a position currently held by the 79-rated Lucky Fun.
“He’s a nice horse,” Ho said. “He’s won three races in my stable and every time he was in an awkward situation but still he can win. That means he’s got some quality.
“When he got his first win here at Happy Valley, Karis Teetan told me he is a really nice horse.”
This win took Ho to double figures for the season and he hopes that his next campaign will look brighter.
“I hope I can finish the season strongly,” Ho said. “I have a lot of young horses but they need time, fingers crossed next season I can bounce back.”