Just hours after securing the services of Jamie Kah for the ride on Voyage Bubble in next weekend’s Classic Mile, trainer Ricky Yiu Poon-fai landed his longest-priced winner in more than a decade at Sha Tin on Saturday.
Yiu was sent scrambling for a jockey after Voyage Bubble’s original rider, Frenchman Mickael Barzalona, was suspended in Dubai on Friday, and he was thrilled to land Kah.
“Once we knew Barzalona couldn’t come to Hong Kong, we rang Jamie immediately, and we’re happy to have her. We just need to wait for her to get her visa now because of the public holidays,” Yiu said.
Yiu’s day only got better, with Ruan Maia piloting Bulletproof to victory at $111 in the Class Four Cineraria Handicap (1,400m) – Yiu’s roughest result since Polymer Win saluted at $136 in March 2012.
“I wasn’t expecting him to be close. He hasn’t performed for a while at Sha Tin, but the main thing is the jockey knows him well and even with top weight and a bad draw, he could make it happen. He’s a nice horse and a winner is a winner, I don’t care how much they pay,” said Yiu, who snared a brace after the earlier victory of Adefill.
Elsewhere on the card, Frankie Lor Fu-chuen’s decision to run Beauty Live on a six-day back up in the Class Two Lily Handicap (1,600m) paid dividends, with the five-year-old justifying his $1.7 quote to win nicely under Zac Purton.
“I think he can still improve a bit on that run. I hope he can continue on up the ratings. We’re looking forward to seeing if he can find another level,” Lor said of Beauty Live, who finished fourth at Sha Tin last weekend.
“After last Sunday, everything was looking good and he was eating well, so I knew he was a good chance today.”
Purton also took out the day’s other Class Two on his way to a four-timer, producing an upset win aboard $8.45 chance Ping Hai Galaxy in the Daffodil Handicap (1,200m) on the all-weather track, with $1.4 favourite Super Win Dragon having to settle for fourth in his bid for a fourth straight victory.
Purton was also successful aboard the David Hall-trained debutant Prince Of Porty, who dug deep late to snatch victory in the Class Four Rose Handicap (1,000m).
“It’s not easy for a new, young, inexperienced horse [to do that]. He was under pressure a long way out, so it’s a good solid effort, definitely,” Hall said.
Purton completed his dominant afternoon with victory aboard Beauty Eternal, with the John Size-trained galloper putting a string of hiccups behind him to win the Class Three Peony Handicap (1,200m) in fine style.
Michael Chang Chun-wai was pleased to see Ching finally cross the line in front, with his four-year-old taking out the Class Four Gladiolus Handicap (1,600m) under Lyle Hewitson after a second, third, fourth and fifth from his first four starts.
“He’s a decent horse who has been a bit unlucky. I told the jockey to treat him like a good horse and ride him with confidence. He’s still got plenty of room to improve. He’s still a bit of a baby,” Chang said.
Ching’s win completed a double for Hewitson after the earlier victory of Colourful Prince, while Karis Teetan (Happy Trio and Adefill) was the other jockey to land a brace.
Yiu had to share the training honours with Douglas Whyte, who supplemented the victory of Colourful Prince with the success of Happy Trio, and Size (Ping Hai Galaxy and Beauty Eternal).