Preciousship (121lb) capped a hat-trick for Ricky Yiu with a gritty success in the Class 2 Choi Wan Handicap (1600m) at Sha Tin yesterday afternoon (Saturday, 8 February).
The trainer’s treble ended a 35-race run of outs that stretched back to 15 January, but the blossoming Preciousship’s fourth score at his sixth start this term catapulted Yiu back to the top of the premiership, two ahead of Francis Lui who had edged into the lead on Wednesday night.
“He has acclimatised now with that full season under his belt, as well as being gelded – he is now on the right track. He’s a horse that loves to race, he enjoys it – it’s not often you find a horse that loves to run,” Yiu said.
The Iffraaj gelding broke cleanly to settle midfield but encountered trouble on the turn for home. Yiu was full of praise for Vincent Ho’s patience atop the Irish Listed winner.
“It was a little bit bumpy in the run but Vincent (Ho) did the right thing, he took a sit and he caught a second breathe so he could accelerate again and when he does that you’re almost certain that he will give everything,” Yiu said.
“He’s a lovely horse to train, he’s a lovely horse to ride in the morning and as well for the jockey in a race, he has a good temperament and he’s a lovely horse in his box – it’s a piece of cake to train him!”
The Aga Khan Studs-bred gelding rocketed to a rating of 93 ahead of this race, having risen 23 points since he banished his Hong Kong maiden tag five starts ago.
“We’ll see how his rating goes – he’s 93 now, so if he does stay under 100 he’ll carry a fair bit of weight now, but he’s done well, so we might give him a little break to freshen him up,” Yiu said.
Preciousship’s success followed a victory two races earlier for Ho and Yiu, with World Famous (131lb) who snared the Class 3 Lok Fu (1800m) Handicap.
Yiu went on to seal his three-timer when Lone Eagle (133lb) ground his way to a breakthrough triumph in the Class 3 Kai Yip Handicap (1200m, dirt) under Derek Leung.
“He’s a morning star working on the dirt, he tries very hard, he goes like lightning,” Yiu said, “he had a bad draw today but maybe it helped him because he didn’t have any kick-back.”