Hewitson has faith in Speed Dragon for 147th Hong Kong Derby

Speed Dragon
Speed Dragon is a one-time Hong Kong winner.

Lyle Hewitson is confident Speed Dragon can handle the distance rise in Sunday’s HK$26 million 147th Hong Kong Derby (2000m) at Sha Tin.

Untested over the trip, Speed Dragon finished an impeded fourth in the HK$13 million Hong Kong Classic Mile (1600m) before travelling wide throughout when ninth in the HK$13 million Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800m) – both races were won by Helios Express.

Hewitson, 26, returns from suspension when he takes five rides on Wednesday night at Happy Valley, while this morning (Tuesday, 19 March) he partnered his BMW Hong Kong Derby mount in a turf gallop at Sha Tin.

Click here for HorseBetting’s preview of Happy Valley races on March 20.

“This morning he galloped beautifully, so it’s all systems go,” said Hewitson of Speed Dragon’s work alongside stablemate Chancheng Glory in 33s, 28.8s, 27.8s (1:29.6s).

Trained by Francis Lui, Speed Dragon has won once in Hong Kong from six starts, scoring over the mile in Class 3 last December.

“The top-quality horses in the race do have question marks over the trip and whether they’ll settle. Speed Dragon is a horse that I know will get the trip. He’s uncomplicated and he is a very, very genuine horse.

“So, put a line through his last run and his Classic Mile run was excellent,” Hewitson said.

Hewitson has 24 wins this season and HK$45.5 million in stakes for connections from his mounts.

“We bowed out a winner that day (before suspension) and hopefully we can come back with one too. It’s nice to get this meeting under the belt before going to the big weekend as well, I’m very much looking forward to this week,” he said.

Hewitson will look for a third win aboard Golden Empire.

“We were just looking at the programme and I asked Francis (Lui) if he would consider running the horse at Happy Valley and while he’s in good form we thought we would take the chance – I’m happy to be aboard him and he’s a nice, uncomplicated ride to look forward to at my first meeting back,” Hewitson said.

Golden Empire (129lb) faces last-start winners Colourful Emperor (129lb) and Solar Partner (125lb). Sugar Sugar (133lb) and more feature in the contest.

“He’s (Golden Empire) doing well. He doesn’t show much in the morning, he is quite a laidback track horse, but that’s just the way it is – he knows when it is game day,” Hewitson said.

Golden Empire will step away from barrier five. Hewitson’s other engagements at the Valley are Falcon Court, Gorgeous Vitality, Win Win Fighter and Grateful Heart.

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