First-season trainer Pierre Ng Pang-chi has had to wait four months to unveil the highest-rated horse in his stable but Glorious Dragon has had to be far more patient.
The eight-year-old grey has not raced since finishing eighth behind Loves Only You in the 2021 Group One Hong Kong Cup, with fetlock injuries keeping him sidelined.
Ng is itching to see what Glorious Dragon can offer in Wednesday night’s Group Three January Cup (1,800m), but knows just getting the horse back to the races is a victory in itself.
“It’s exciting to get him fit and get him racing. I hope he’s still got it there. We’ve tried everything. He had fetlock injuries before and he had an operation during the summer time and we have spent about four months now getting him back into fitness,” Ng said. “He’s had three trials but I still think he’s not yet the horse that we saw before.”
Now rated 118, Glorious Dragon reached a peak mark of 122 during his time with Francis Lui Kin-wai after wins at Class One and Group Three level to go with a Group One Gold Cup fourth.
That Group Three victory came in the 2021 Centenary Vase (1,800m) at Sha Tin and it is this year’s edition of that race – to be held on February 5 – which Ng is most looking forward to with his acquisition.
“This should be a good warm-up run for him and I look forward to the Group Three next month,” the 39-year-old said.
“He needs time and some runs to get him fitter, but he could get back to his peak. He trots up better than he was before so that makes me confident that he is better than he has been.”
Glorious Dragon jumps from gate five under in-form jockey Hugh Bowman in a race featuring the likes of Money Catcher, Excellent Proposal and Packing Award.
Glorious Dragon is one of eight runners for Ng at the midweek meeting and he also saddles up Astrologer for the first time after inheriting the horse from the Douglas Whyte stable.
Astrologer lines up in the Class Two Cannon Handicap (1,000m), where he will face Valley specialist Whizz Kid and the in-form Street Scream.
Also among Ng’s hand is Humble Star, who will look to continue his hot start to life in the city in the Class Three Causeway Handicap (1,200m) after saluting on Hong Kong debut at the course and distance last month.