Enjoying’s career in Hong Kong hasn’t been straightforward but trainer Chris So is optimistic the Dundeel gelding can expel stamina queries and requite his owners with victory in the Group 3 Queen Mother Memorial Cup Handicap (2400m) at Sha Tin on Sunday (May 1).
“It’s a small field and I think he can manage the distance, for sure, I’m not worried because even the owner Mr Wong believes he can go further but in Hong Kong there’s not much on offer.
“He ran well in Australia over the distance, so that’s why we’re trying it this weekend, we’ll see, he’s still in good form and it’s a small field,” So said.
Beset with setbacks after initially targeting a BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) tilt in 2020, Enjoying displayed plenty of prowess early on after arriving in Hong Kong as a dual Group 2 winner for Ciaron Maher and David Eustace in Australia under the name Global Exchange.
The gelding finished a rousing fourth in the 2020 Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800m) and looked a live threat to Golden Sixty’s eventual Four-Year-Old Classic Series sweep, however, his debut season closed prematurely after he was found with a heart irregularity only nine days out from the 2020 BMW Hong Kong Derby.
“He’s been so-so in Hong Kong, before he joined my stable he was found with blood and had a heart irregularity once too, so I think he just needed time.
“He ran well in the Hong Kong Classic Cup, he ran close but after that he’s been only so-so, luckily we got a win with him and his last few runs have been good,” So said.
After numerous near misses, the six-year-old broke through for a first Hong Kong win at his 20th start two runs ago.
Prior to import, the HKD$4.10 million earner finished sixth in the 2019 Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick Racecourse in Sydney, Australia.
Five will go to post for this weekend’s HKD$3.7 million contest: Butterfield (133lb), Senor Toba (120lb), Enjoying (118lb), Looking Great (113lb) and Above (113lb).
Matthew Chadwick takes the ride this weekend and the pair will step away from gate two.
So celebrated his 300th Hong Kong win and 100th at Happy Valley on April 20 with a double which pushed him to 301 career wins.
“It’s not easy in Hong Kong, it’s very competitive but for my ninth season, I think I’ve averaged 30 or so wins each time around and I’m happy with that – Hong Kong is very hard,” So said.
The 53-year-old received his own licence to train ahead of the 2013/14 season after serving as assistant trainer to Caspar Fownes from 2003.
“I was born in Hong Kong but I moved to Canada when I was young, my father was a jockey here in Hong Kong and then we moved over there,” So said.
So spent his early career at Woodbine, Canada before returning to Hong Kong as a work rider in 1997.
“My father retired and trained in Canada but I didn’t work for him, I worked at Winfields Farm, the birthplace of Northern Dancer, breaking in yearlings and doing ground work as well as preparing for sales in Kentucky.
“When I got injuries, I kept coming back to Hong Kong and then Ricky Yiu asked me to join as a riding boy.
“One time I hurt my knee and I needed to take eight months off, so in the meantime I came back to Hong Kong for a holiday and I met Ricky and he asked me to join the Club; then I worked for David Hayes, Tony Cruz and Caspar Fownes,” So said.
So also spent time in Australia and New Zealand under the tutelage of John Hawkes, Shaun Ritchie and Lance Noble.