Ping Hai Galaxy was an unconsidered 159/1 chance to win yesterday (Wednesday, 12 February) evening’s finale, the Class 3 Fo Tan Handicap (1200m) at Happy Valley, but John Size’s charge belied those odds with a comfortable win under Matthew Poon.
The four-year-old had been unplaced at each of his five previous starts, which included running last of 14 at Sha Tin on his most recent outing. But the grey – unbeaten in two outings in Queensland pre-import – put those reversals behind him on his first start at the Valley with a half-length score in a time of 1m 09.14s.
“I think the key is that he travelled really smoothly,” Poon said. “His last couple of starts he fought and used his energy early and couldn’t finish. Mr. Size decided to bring him to Happy Valley over 1200 metres and this time there was good speed and he travelled really well. He was breathing very well, he was smooth and that’s why he could hit the line.
“He ran a good time, so he just needs the race to be smooth so he can get a rhythm and then he will be able to show this ability again.”
There was more Queensland form on show when Heavenly Thought, runner-up to Dark Dream in the 2018 Group 1 Queensland Derby and now under the watch of trainer Frankie Lor, finally broke his Hong Kong duck. The five-year-old took section one of the Class 3 Kwai Chung Handicap (1650m) under premiership leader Joao Moreira.
The Brazilian completed a race-to-race brace aboard Farshad in the night’s penultimate contest, section two of the Class 3 Kwai Chung Handicap (1650m). The Me Tsui-trained grey was another to earn a first Hong Kong win.
Bulb Elite (116lb) also broke his Hong Kong maiden – at the 25th attempt – in the Class 4 Tai Po Handicap (1650m). The Dennis Yip-trained six-year-old had dropped to a career-low rating of 43 and plugged on dourly from a handy spot under Alexis Badel to hold off race favourite Everyone’s Elite (117lb).
Grant van Niekerk made the most of a spare pick-up when he filled in aboard Takingufurther in section one of the Class 4 Sai Kung Handicap (1200m), after Keith Yeung was ruled out due to sickness. The South African took the five-year-old to the lead and was never headed in posting an easy three and a half-length win – trainer Jimmy Ting’s first for the month.
Acclaimed Light relished the good tempo in the Class 4 Tsuen Wan Handicap (1800m), so much so that he surged away to a two and three quarter-length win in a Class record time of 1m 48.10s. The eight-year-old’s success marked jockey Neil Callan’s fourth win for the Paul O’Sullivan stable this term, at a strike rate of 23%.