The Jockey Club was forced to abandon a race for the second time this season after Sight Spirit went amiss as the field rounded the first turn in the Class Three Luard Handicap (1,650m) at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
Jockey Karis Teetan escaped injury despite his nasty fall, but with the John Size-trained Sight Spirit and the Mauritian jockey on the track a couple of hundred metres past the winning post, stewards were quick to sound the emergency siren and bring the race to an end.
Teetan, who rides Romantic Warrior in his Group One Hong Kong Gold Cup (2,000m) showdown with Golden Sixty on Sunday, picked himself up and walked to an ambulance before being declared fit to ride in the next race.
The incident follows a similar fall at Sha Tin in December, with Hugh Bowman hitting the dirt after Fast Pace suffered a heart attack soon after the start, meaning the contest had to be called off.
The night did start on better terms for Teetan and Size, with the pair sharing success thanks to the victory of Raging Blaze in the first section of the Class Five Fenwick Handicap (1,200m).
Elsewhere on Wednesday night, a relieved David Hayes ended a five-week drought during which a steady stream of horses left his stable.
Hayes, who had gone 62 runners without a winner before Allgreektome’s win, lost his best horse, Super Wealthy, to a stable transfer last week, while Hong Kong Derby hopeful Straight Arron was also moved by his owner earlier this month.
“It’s a relief after a very long week. A lot of horses barely acclimatise, barely adjust and just start to hit form and they leave. I don’t know many people who would be happy if they lost 21 horses in six months,” Hayes said.
“It’s hard to take, but you’ve just got to keep your head down, keep working and let the trend change. You’ve got to be mature and march on.”
It’s been a disappointing season so far for Hayes, with his 19th win of the campaign moving him up to just 13th in the trainers’ premiership, but he is hopeful Allgreektome is a galloper who can help to brighten up the second half of the term.
Run down late when trying to lead all the way as a $1.5 chance last start, Allgreektome was sent off at $2.9 on Wednesday night and was strong to the line after jockey Vincent Ho Chak-yiu employed the same tactics from gate seven.
“This horse nearly ran Class One time getting beaten the other day, and he just needed the run after having mucus. It was crazy, [tonight] was the best odds he’s been, and it was the best chance he’s been. I think he’ll have no trouble progressing through the grades,” Hayes said.
Peter Ho Leung was another trainer who walked away from the midweek meeting smiling, with the veteran handler thanking prominent owner Edmond Lee Man-bun after the victory of Packing Succeeder in the second section of the Class Four Fleming Handicap (1,650m).
“I’m so happy this owner keeps supporting me at my toughest time. I really appreciate it, and I have to thank him a lot for his loyalty,” said Ho, who moved to 10 wins through 47 meetings after managing only 25 victories in the past two seasons combined.
“I’ve been here for years, I know the pattern. If you get the right horse, you can get the winners.
“He’s a nice horse. He’s a four-year-old, but mentally he’s not 100 per cent mature yet. He’s still green and has a lot to learn.”
Packing Succeeder’s success was the first of a double for Zac Purton, who also partnered the Jamie Richards-trained Flying On The Turf to his third consecutive victory in the first section of the Class Four Lockhart Handicap (1,200m).
Amazing Boy continued to fly Michael Chang Chun-wai’s Happy Valley flag, proving too strong for his rivals in the first section of the Fleming Handicap.
Amazing Boy is the only horse from Chang’s stable to win at the city circuit in the past eight months, reeling off three Happy Valley victories in that time.
Chang teamed up with an unlikely ally for his eighth win of the season, with the veteran trainer and jockey Keith Yeung Ming-lun combining for just their second-ever win and their first success together since Mega Heart’s victory in June 2019.
It was a welcome result for Yeung, who snapped his 54-ride run of outs dating back to January 4 to land his sixth success of the campaign.