Wednesday’s (15 January) nine-race card at Happy Valley rounds out with a cracking finale as emerging talents Highly Proactive (132lb) and Snap Fit (129lb) lock horns in the Class 3 Chater Handicap (1200m).
Snap Fit won his first three starts, all at Happy Valley, before his unbeaten streak was halted by the runaway Winning Method last time out. Highly Proactive, on the other hand, got off the mark last start at his third attempt, when his wide, on-pace performance impressed jockey Karis Teetan.
“It was a very tough win from the outside gate,” Teetan said. “I think he worked all the way around until the 650-metre mark, then once he caught his breath he kicked on nicely in the straight and won a tough race. Not many horses would have done that, so I’m very pleased with that win.
“His win surprised me, I thought that once he did that much work it would have been difficult for him but he has a little bit of quality about him, he’s only a young horse with a few runs under his belt but he finished off nicely and he won a good race.
“He’s shown a lot since the day he got here so let’s hope he keeps going,” he added.
The four-year-old was unbeaten in two New Zealand races before arriving in Hong Kong. The gelding was sourced by trainer Francis Lui’s retired former stable apprentice Kei Chiong and the handler has been impressed by his progress since that last-start win.
“He looks like he’s improved a bit, he’s more mature and before they always said he was immature but he’s showing that improvement. He has a better draw this time and Karis has been happy with him,” Lui said.
Highly Proactive’s task won’t be easy though, with the Caspar Fownes-trained Snap Fit out to thwart him while also attempting to bounce back from his only defeat so far last month.
Hong Kong’s champion jockey Zac Purton has been in the plate for each of Snap Fit’s starts but Joao Moreira will take over riding duties this week as the Australian finishes serving a two-meeting suspension.
“He’s a very nice horse, Caspar seems to be very confident in his ability and his potential as an individual. I like him, having seen what I have, and hopefully Caspar is right about his ability because he seems to be a nice horse,” Moreira said.