Overshadowed by Hong Kong’s sprinting elite for the past two seasons, Sight Success was rewarded for admirable consistency with victory in the HK$5.35 million Group 2 Premier Bowl Handicap (1200m) at Sha Tin on Sunday afternoon as Brenton Avdulla and John Size combined in spectacular fashion.
A Group 1 runner-up, Sight Success slotted his maiden Group 2 triumph in a time of 1m 08.27s under an inspired ride by Avdulla, who had snared only one win from 52 rides this season before taking the reins on Sight Success and delivering the Magnus seven-year-old’s ninth win of his career.
Sight Success (121lb) prevailed under a heady display from Avdulla, who first forced 1.4 favourite Lucky Sweynesse (135lb) to cover ground early under Zac Purton before driving late to down the favourite by a short head. Duke Wai (117lb) was third, while Victor The Winner (118lb) faded to fifth after setting the pace. Adios filled fourth position.
“I was able to hold my spot and just force Zac to go on a bit further than he probably wanted to. I just let Zac and Karis do what they wanted to do and I thought the only way I could beat them was late. Full credit to John and his team,” Avdulla said.
“I had a number of frustrating seconds (this season) and lost a little bit of support through the way, but John has always been one who’s thrown me some good rides. You’ve got to make the most of these opportunities and I’m very thankful.”
Second to Wellington in the 2022 Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint (1200m), Sight Success will be given another tilt at the HK$26 million feature on December 10 after contesting the Group 2 BOCHK Private Banking Jockey Club Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin on November 19.
“These small fields are always a bit tricky but I think he (Avdulla) chose the right option and just followed the two leaders and he got a lovely run into the race,” Size said after Sight Success took his prize money earnings beyond HK$25 million.
“He’s a very consistent horse, very honest, always puts in a good run and he seems to be able to sustain a long preparation. Last season, he ran very well in the international race (Hong Kong Sprint) and I’m hoping he’ll do the same again.
“He (Avdulla) is a good jockey and when you come to Hong Kong it’s a very tough venue to perform in but now he’s won a nice race like that, and ridden so well in other races, I think he’ll be underway now.”
Size has now won the Premier Bowl four times after previous triumphs with Rich Unicorn (2011), Mr Stunning (2017), Hot King Prawn (2018) and now Sight Success.
Invincible Sage earned a PP Bonus of HK$1.5 million with an eye-catching victory for David Hall under Hugh Bowman.
“I think there’s more to come with him, he’s a very uncomplicated horse. He has a perfect temperament and racing style for Hong Kong – he’s got a bit to offer. It’s lovely to see him do that, but it comes as no surprise,” Bowman said.
Hall sealed a double with Keagan De Melo when Atullibigeal. De Melo earlier posted his first Sha Tin win when Rising From Ashes gave Francis Lui a double.
Lui and Harry Bentley earlier combined with Chancheng Glory.
Danny Shum is confident Champion Method can continue to progress after the three-year-old’s brave win under Andrea Atzeni.
“He’s only a three-year-old but he overcame a lot of challenges – he had 132 pounds, a bad draw (gate 10) and even as he went in front, he was three wide. He’s a nice horse with a big heart,” Shum said.
“He can continue to improve. I don’t need to rush him too much now. I’ve gelded him, so hopefully he will put on more weight and gain strength.”
Gluck Racer struck in fine fashion for Cody Mo and Karis Teetan, before Massive Action led all the way for Frankie Lor and Lyle Hewitson.
Dennis Yip-trained Telecom Dragon stormed late to clinch the Class 4 Cycling Handicap (1200m) under Bowman before Jerry Chau piloted Fun Together to victory for Benno Yung.