Silvestre de Sousa returned from suspension at Sha Tin on Sunday to register his first Hong Kong four-timer, record his 100th Hong Kong win and ride Money Catcher to his maiden Hong Kong victory in the main event before Jockey Club stewards banned him again.
One better than each of his five Hong Kong trebles – the latest of which occurred in February 2019 – De Sousa’s quadruple came aboard Brave Dreams, Turquoise Alpha, Money Catcher and Science Patch.
The Class Four AHAVA Handicap (1,600m) triumph of Turquoise Alpha – one of two Sunday successes for Pierre Ng Pang-chi – finally completed De Sousa’s century of Hong Kong wins across a period of 2,525 days.
Thirty-five minutes later, De Sousa drove Money Catcher to repel Beauty Joy and pocket the Group Three Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse (1,800m), thereby ending the Frankie Lor Fu-chuen-trained New Zealand maiden winner’s 795-day wait for his second victory.
Lor, for whom Money Catcher made it a double on the Sha Tin card, relayed De Sousa’s persistence in getting the ride on the Ladies’ Purse winner.
“He rang me a few times. He really wanted to ride this horse. So, I thought ‘OK’, because he can ride the light weight. He did a great job for me,” Lor said.
“We planned, if no one wanted to lead, we could lead by ourselves. I don’t know, maybe [Ka Ying Star] jumped a bit slow, that’s why we could lead by ourselves. It was really good for him.
He takes a bit of riding but Turquoise Alpha gets over the line first! That marks a double for @SilvDSousa as Pierre Ng nails his 7th win this term. 🔥🔥#SaSaLPDay | #HKracing pic.twitter.com/RDJAanPnwT— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) November 6, 2022
“This horse [is] very unlucky always. Second, third, fourth. This time, I won the race for the owners. Really happy. We waited for the win for a long time.”
Money Catcher carried 20 pounds less than Beauty Joy and scored by half a length. Understandably, Lor wants time to determine his galloper’s next target.
“Maybe, maybe. I’ll have a look over the next few days,” Lor responded when asked if he would prepare Money Catcher for December’s Hong Kong International Races meeting, at which he holds Group One entries in both the Mile (1,600m) and the Cup (2,000m).
Only a short-head margin in Sha Tin finale, the Class Two Neogence Handicap (1,600m), prevented De Sousa equalling the five winners he rode at Sandown Park during his 2017 British title-winning season.
“I’m very pleased. I had a nice book of rides. I thought I’d win the last race, but my horse [Keefy] didn’t want to play. He was very tough and genuine, but he just met one better,” said De Sousa, who had told the Post “you’re only as good as your last ride and your last meeting” ahead of his return to action.
“Today, almost every horse I rode had a chance to win. They came out, and they did really well.”
One De Sousa-ridden galloper who did not go close to winning was Kilindini, and it was the Brazilian’s steer of the Tony Millard-conditioned runner in the second section of the Class Three Eleanor Handicap (1,400m) that drew the ire of Jockey Club officials.
De Sousa will miss the November 27 meeting at Sha Tin and the November 30 meeting at Happy Valley – plus pay a $30,000 fine – after Jockey Club stewards adjudged him guilty of careless riding for a third time in this season’s opening 16 meetings.
“I think when you try hard, and you want to see every horse run to its best, sometimes it goes like that. That’s the rules of racing. We take them on the chin, we have to keep moving on, and we try to adjust to the mistakes we’re making,” De Sousa said.
Also, Keith Yeung Ming-lun picked up a two-meeting suspension for his careless riding of Jimmy Ting Koon-ho-trained The Runner in the same race.