Me Tsui Yu-sak is looking forward to what season 2022-23 holds after Telecom Fighters delivered him his richest victory in almost 12 months at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
In taking out the Class Two Causeway Bay Handicap (1,650m), Telecom Fighters handed Tsui his second victory at the fourth meeting of the term, and the 61-year-old is pleased to be moving on from a season to forget in 2021-22.
Tsui’s 21-win haul was his lowest return since he managed only 17 in his debut campaign in 2005-06 and saw him receive his first strike for failing to meet the Jockey Club’s trainers’ benchmark.
But the trainer, who didn’t dip below 33 successes in the eight campaigns prior, is optimistic those struggles are in the rear-view mirror, and he’s feeding off the positivity of his staff.
“I’ve started the season OK, I’m confident [this season will be better] but my stable team are more confident than me,” Tsui said.
Telecom Fighters was the beneficiary of a textbook Zac Purton ride, with the reigning champion jockey controlling the slowly run contest from the front before putting the foot down about 600m from home and establishing a winning break.
“It was a very good ride, before the home turn he kicked him into gear because he knows he’s only one paced,” Tsui said. “If he holds him, maybe [he can’t win], so at the 500m he let him start improving.”
Telecom Fighters has delivered Tsui his two most recent Class Two wins after also saluting in the grade in October last year, but the trainer knows he’ll likely need some ratings relief before he can salute again.
“I can’t say he’s a very good horse, but he’s a very honest horse. He’ll be rated close to 100 now, so maybe next time I’ll have to get 10-pound [claimer Angus Chung Yik-lai] on him – I’ll talk to the owner,” Tsui said.
After being stood down from his six Wednesday rides because of a thyroid condition, Karis Teetan had to watch on as one of those mounts – Pretty Queen Prawn – got the chocolates.
Hammered late in betting to jump a $2.1 favourite, Pretty Queen Prawn broke his maiden at start 12 in the Class Four North Point Handicap (1,000m) under replacement rider Lyle Hewitson.
While Teetan was out of luck, trainer Douglas Whyte was pleased to see things finally go the way of his five-year-old.
“He’s been probably one of the unluckiest horses in Hong Kong with the draws and circumstances,” Whyte said. “He deserved that win tonight. He got a gate [two] and obviously backing up from last week, Lyle gave him a great ride. I’m just happy to have a winner for the owners.”
Elsewhere, Matthew Chadwick got his campaign rolling with a double, opening his account with victory aboard the Jimmy Ting Koon-ho-trained The Anomaly and following up by saluting aboard Tony Cruz’s Street Scream.
The Anomaly’s victory came in the last leg of the Triple Trio, which paid a monster HK$30,324,969 after a HK$37 million jackpot was carried over and was won for two units.
Cruz also snared a double after the earlier victory of Circuit Elite, while Hewitson and Whyte continued their successful partnership by taking out the final race on the card with Durham Star to complete a brace.