Super Win Dragon rubbed the noses of his rivals in the Sha Tin dirt for the third time this season, with Chris So Wai-yin’s all-weather specialist winning Sunday’s feature event on his favourite surface.
Last in a grass Class Four over 1,400m in February, Super Win Dragon let down under his feather weight of 115 pounds, which included Matthew Chadwick, to take out the Class Two Salisbury Handicap (1,200m) by half a length from long-time leader Campione.
Since So decided to campaign Super Win Dragon in 1,200m dirt contests exclusively, the five-year-old galloper has posted four firsts and two seconds in six starts, including running over the top of his opponents in each of his three outings this term.
“The horse has improved a lot this year. Before he was very keen, jumpy. This year, totally different,” said So, whose resolve to keep Super Win Dragon in all-weather sprints means he will refrain from running him until the next 1,200m dirt race for which he is eligible, which is on January 21.
“We don’t have any other option. We concentrate on the dirt 1,200m. Class Two is very competitive, but let’s see how much weight he goes up. We can ask to put one of the claiming boys on. Angus is riding very well, and his 10 pounds is a good option, but I’ll have to discuss it with his owners first.”
A trainer who loves Sha Tin’s all-weather track even more than Super Win Dragon is Benno Yung Tin-pang, who registered his second dirt-only treble this season to leap to sixth in the premiership.
The victories of heavyweight miler Run Des Run, who weighed in at a scale-squashing 1,496 pounds, swooping sprinter Ice Legend and firming favourite Handsome Twelve means Yung has saddled nine all-weather winners this term – three times as many as any other handler – and 14 across both surfaces.
“I’m not going out of my way to target winners on the dirt. Each horse is an individual, but it just happens that quite a few of them can perform on the dirt,” said Yung, whose all-weather followers would not be dirt poor – his 24 all-weather starters have made win backers 135 per cent profit on turnover.
Whereas Class Three Humphreys Handicap (1,650m) winner Handsome Twelve completed Yung’s treble, he was the first of Zac Purton’s three winners as the champion jockey returned from his second Covid-enforced absence this season ahead of not only Sunday’s Longines Hong Kong International Races at Sha Tin but also Wednesday’s International Jockeys’ Championship at Happy Valley.
Purton rode a running treble aboard Handsome Twelve for Yung, Marado for Pierre Ng Pang-chi – who celebrated the fourth double of his first campaign as a licensed trainer – and Amazing Victory for Peter Ho Leung.
“It’s just good to be back. I want to get some rhythm and consistency back,” Purton said.
“I had to miss a couple of meetings and was just out of my physical routine – going to the physio, doing the things I normally do, and I wanted to get some normality back into my programme to just get rolling again. I’ve got to turn it up again, if I can.”