Stronger found his Hong Kong feet in fine style at Happy Valley last night (Wednesday, 12 February), blitzing the Class 3 Fanling Handicap (1000m) in a track record 56.11s.
The Not A Single Doubt colt arrived in town with a smart juvenile profile from his time in Australia, having landed a Group 3 contest at the Gold Coast on his final start before import. And the three-year-old repaid the faith of trainer John Moore with tonight’s local breakthrough.
“He wasn’t cheap because he’s a good looker and he’s still an entire because he’s got a great disposition. George and I actually bid on him back when he was a yearling but we stopped because he ended up going for about AU$1.1 million,” Moore said.
“He’s a handy horse otherwise he wouldn’t be in Hong Kong. He’s here because they (the previous connections) didn’t see a lot of upside but we hope we can take him well up into Class 2 and then into the bottom of Class 1. I still think there’s some upside.”
Champion jockey Zac Purton got a smart break out of Stronger (131lb) from gate two and opted to stalk the front-running Multimillion (133lb) on the fence. His mount loomed up powerfully on that rival’s near flank when switched out at the top of the straight.
“Zac got off and said that was easy,” Moore added, having watched his charge sprint away to a cosy length and three-quarter win. “He said that in the gate tonight he was really quiet for an entire; he jumped smartly and had the gun run all the way.
“It was just how much gas was left in the tank at the corner? He just quickened really nicely. I think we’ve got him in the right place now – there’s another two wins in him this season. He won facile today.”
Purton snared a double on the night, having taken his strike rate this season for trainer Benno Yung to 26% when Amazing became his fourth winner for the stable. The Australian delivered the 21-race maiden with a late inside run to nick the opener, section two of the Class 4 Sai Kung Handicap (1200m), by a short-head.