Solar Patch (123lb) took the Class 3 Beijing Clubhouse Anniversary Cup Handicap (1200m) at Sha Tin Racecourse this afternoon, as jockey Sam Clipperton and trainer John Moore clicked for the first time this season.
“Just like old times!” Clipperton said as he reached down to take Moore’s congratulatory hand, after guiding the 17/1 shot to a neck verdict over Wishful Thinker (132lb).
Moore provided the Australian hoop with a steady stream of winners last term but circumstances have been different this season. With the stable below par for much of the campaign, and Tommy Berry, until recently, the yard’s retained rider, today’s win was the first for the pairing since Booming Delight snared a Group 3 on 4 June last year.
“Solar Patch is a very professional type,” Clipperton said of the three-year-old.
“Today was his first start in Hong Kong, he drew an awkward gate and he was a dream to ride. He jumped well, put himself in a good position, travelled perfectly; I had to ease him out earlier than I would have liked because the horse I was following started to come back and I had one to my outside.
“I hit the front a little bit too early but he towed me up there, I couldn’t hold him. He was in front a long way out but he showed what a good type he is and fended off the challengers. I’m sure he’ll improve and work through his grades.”
The Stratum gelding, owned by Yeung Kin-man, raced nine times for two wins in Australia pre-import.
“This is the only one of Mr. Yeung’s we have in the stable so it’s good to get a winner for him,” Moore said.
“It was a good win, too, because the horse had only had one barrier trial here but he still hit the line really well, so he’s a horse with a bit of future.”