Paul O’Sullivan’s 12-meeting farewell tour began in perfect fashion at Sha Tin on Sunday, with the retiring New Zealander landing a double just days after announcing he will end his 18-year stint in Hong Kong at the end of the season.

The Kiwi is in flying form and the brace took him to 21 winners for the campaign, the last eight of which have come since the beginning of May.

“It’s nice to win a few races on the way out because most people walk out kicking stones,” O’Sullivan said.

O’Sullivan’s two victories could hardly have been achieved in different styles, with Gang Of Brothers making all the running to win the Class Four Hong Kong Association Of Sports Medicine And Sports Science Handicap (1,400m) and Turquoise Alpha coming from the clouds to get up on the line in the Class Four Champion Apprentices Handicap (1,600m).

Gang Of Brothers had been a model of consistency over 1,200m this season, finishing in the first four in his past four starts, but he managed to find some improvement with a switch to front-running tactics and a step up to 1,400m for the first time.

With jockey Zac Purton seizing the initiative from stall nine, the four-year-old grabbed the rail early and got the better of a terrific battle in the straight with fellow pacesetter Kung Fu Tea, winning by a short-head.

O’Sullivan was pleased with the win and was already contemplating whether a change of headgear could extract even more out of Gang Of Brothers.

“Zac seemed to think he was waiting for the other horse,” O’Sullivan said. “He might be a good horse to put a visor on, but you can’t change after a win. It was a good, gutsy effort.”

While Gang Of Brothers was never headed en route to winning, Turquoise Alpha saw all but one of his rivals after coming with a stunning run down the Sha Tin straight to bring up O’Sullivan’s double.

Taken to the rear of the field despite a good draw in stall one, Turquoise Alpha was a long way back as he dropped to 1,600m for the first time since February but the fast pace brought his stamina into play as he flew down the wide outside to nab President’s Choice by a short-head.

The win surprised O’Sullivan, who had been disappointed with Turquoise Alpha’s recent efforts.

“It was a surprise and I think after looking at that, I’ve probably been racing him a little bit too far at 2,000m and 1,800m,” O’Sullivan said.

Jockey Vagner Borges celebrates a long-awaited victory.

“I thought I’d just bring him back to the mile and it’s great to win one. The owner has been super patient so I’m just thrilled that he can win a race and he might win another one, who knows.

“We’ll give him another run somewhere this season and hopefully he can win another race.”

Turquoise Alpha’s victory was a welcome first winner since March 23 for Vagner Borges.

Trainer O’Sullivan to leave Hong Kong at the end of the season

The Brazilian had gone 108 rides since he was successful aboard Wild West Wing a couple of months ago and he was delighted to be back in the winner’s enclosure.

“You always think positive, work hard and you’re always going to get there,” Borges said.

“I knew a winner was going to come eventually, because you keep working hard. He jumped a little bit slow, he relaxed and he had a good finish. He was strong.”