It was a night of doubles at the city circuit on Wednesday, with jockey Vincent Ho Chak-yiu and trainer Francis Lui Kin-wai teaming up for a brace under the Happy Valley lights.
After opening their account with Gold Gold Baby in the Class Four Flying Handicap (1,000m), Ho and Lui went within a nostril of saluting in the Class Three Racing Spirit Handicap – Rising From Ashes going down to Amazing One Plus by the narrowest of margins – before they struck again in the final event on the card with Gallant Waking.
Sent out the $4 second elect, behind only the undefeated Flying Ace in the market, Gallant Waking cornered near the back of the field in the first section of the Class Three Speedy Handicap (1,200m) before storming home to notch his second consecutive victory.
Gold Gold Baby was also stringing together his second win on the trot and the five-year-old did it in even more eye-catching fashion than Gallant Waking, bursting through heavy traffic to hit the line first.
Taken back from gate eight by Ho, Gold Gold Baby was three lengths detached from the field down the back straight and cornered what would have been last if not for Modest Gentleman badly missing the start.
But in a race where the leaders went .64 of a second inside standard for the first 600m, Gold Gold Baby was able to make ground quickly before barging through the smallest of gaps between See U Again and Fabulous Eight and surging to victory.
“I had a few doubts because I was so far away in the back straight – he couldn’t even keep up,” Ho said.
“But I knew he was going to have a good turn of foot – if those other horses were going too fast and were going to stop, I could catch them.
Unbelievable win! 🤯— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) October 19, 2022
Eyes on the second-to-last horse, Gold Gold Baby, who produces an almighty effort to win as favourite for @Vincenthocy in the third race at Happy Valley. #HappyWednesday | #HKracing pic.twitter.com/dok2HtJKXh
“So, at the top of the straight, I was pretty confident, but it got a bit tight and I’m glad he was big enough and brave enough to keep going. We’re getting his mind right and he is fitter now and we have confidence in him.”
After a largely uninspiring first half a dozen starts saw Gold Gold Baby’s rating drop to 38, his uptick in form has coincided with Lui’s decision to switch from Sha Tin 1,200m and 1,400m races to the Valley 1,000m.
“I was scared and my heart was pumping because it looked like he wouldn’t have any room to come out,” Lui said about a nerve-racking final 100m, before admitting every win is a bonus with a galloper who required throat surgery before he had raced.
“He had the operation and it took him a long time to come back. We were lucky he could come back to race, let alone win a race, and I’m very happy to see him do well.”
Elsewhere, trainer Chris So Wai-yin landed his best haul of the season so far thanks to the victories of Legion Of Merit and Exceptional Nice to move to five winners for the campaign.
Reigning champion trainer Frankie Lor Fu-chuen also landed a brace, getting the chocolates with Lucky Archangel and Excellent Peers.
Both trainers were beneficiaries of the hot form of Zac Purton – So with Exceptional Nice and Lor with Lucky Archangel – with the star Australian banking another two winners to move to 27 for the season and 16 in October alone.
Matthew Chadwick was the other jockey doubling up, saluting aboard Excellent Peers and booting home the David Hall-trained Melbourne Hall, the latter at $18.