After two successive defeats, champion sprinter Lucky Sweynesse produced a fighting finish to narrowly down Victor The Winner to claim successive victories in the Group 2 Jockey Club Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin.
Lucky Sweynesse will now aim to land his first Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin on December 10.
It was Zac Purton’s tenth win on Lucky Sweynesse, who is the first horse since Hot King Prawn in 2018 and 2020 to win the race twice.
“He got the job done,” Purton said.
“He’s sort of getting back to his best. He’s not quite there yet but he took another step in the right direction today and he’s going to need to be better next time.”
In what was billed as a dress rehearsal for next month’s Hong Kong Sprint with every horse in today’s race all entered, Lucky Sweynesse went into the race after twice finishing second since resuming from a spell.
Many saw it as a race in two between Lucky Sweynesse and Wellington, who was having his first run since finishing his last campaign when tenth of 16 at Royal Ascot in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes in June over 1200m.
Victor The Winner, who downed Lucky Sweynesse by 2.5 lengths in September, again threatened to topple Hong Kong’s sprint king.
Lucky Sweynesse was wide going forward after the jump and settled fourth, while Wellington jumped well but was happy to let Victor The Winner make the running in front.
Victor The Winner kept rolling along in front and 600m from home was waiting for the challengers to arrive. Lucky Sweynesse started his charge home three wide, with Sight Success chasing Victor The Winner in second.
Wellington started to peg the leader back and Lucky Sweynesse lunged late to snatch a gutsy victory from Victor The Winner. Wellington was third.
After carrying 135lb in his first two races this campaign, Lucky Sweynesse was much better off with the set weights and penalties scale in today’s race with 128 pounds.
Victor The Winner’s jockey Karis Teetan rode a bold race and made the heavily-supported Lucky Sweynesse earn his win, scoring by just a neck in 1:08.42s.
The key to Victor The Winner’s race was that he was able to settle and dictate terms in front and it was perhaps only the world class of Lucky Sweynesse that got him that narrow victory.