Brave Legend was sent out at 31/1 first-up after two Sha Tin runs last preparation. He defied those odds with a sweeping run down the centre of the track to win by two and a quarter lengths going away.
“I wasn’t surprised – I always thought he was a nice horse and I expected a nice run from him, it was just whether or not he would handle the track,” Chadwick said at Sha Tin on Tuesday morning (26 September). “He seemed to be a bit green that day but he got around it nicely and hopefully he has learnt a lot from it.”
Brave Legend received a nine-point increase for the win, which means that he is equal top-weight with David Ferraris-trained Breeders’ Star on Wednesday night, with both set to carry 133lb. For Chadwick, that is some concern, although he hopes that natural improvement will allow him to overcome the extra weight.
“He came up that day against an average field, so I think he looked better than he probably was, but I think he’s probably learnt from that and hopefully he can take it on,” he said. “He seems to have strengthened up and he seems to be going into the race nicely. I think he can handle the weight and he’s drawn well, so hopefully he can be a couple of spots further forward than last start and we can see his best work late.”
Brave Legend is one of three last-start winners in Wednesday night’s trophy event, with handler Chris So sending out the Racing Club-owned Young Empire (122lb) and jockey Zac Purton reuniting with the Dennis Yip-trained Starlight (121lb).
Starlight won a Class 4 at the final Happy Valley meeting of last season in July with Purton aboard, but apprentice Matthew Poon was in the saddle when the Red Element gelding scored two weeks ago.
The five-year-old now tackles Class 3 for the first time, but Purton believes Starlight has long been destined to end up in this grade.
“He should be able to handle it,” Purton said. “He always gave the impression last season that he was going to end up a Class 3 horse. He’s racing with a little bit of confidence now, he’s got a little bit of weight off his back and he is in good form, so I think he should acquit himself well.”
The Class 3 Citi Sprint Challenge Cup Handicap (1200m) is the sixth of eight races and is scheduled to jump at 9.45pm.
First win looming for Callan
Rider Neil Callan has had a quiet start to the season, but the Irishman is hopeful that one of his five rides on Wednesday night can produce his first winner this term.
“It would be nice!” Callan said. “I just notice that everybody else seems more worried about it than I am. When it does happen, it will happen.”
Callan rides Richard Gibson-trained Powermax – a last-start second to Brave Legend – in the night’s closer, the Class 3 Wistaria Handicap (1200m). The Magnus gelding has proven a model of consistency, not missing the top four in each of his 10 starts, including three wins under Callan last season, and the jockey is looking forward to returning to his back on race day for the first time since May.
“He’s been racing quite well from last season and he’s carried it on through to this season,” he said. “His first run this season was good, but unfortunately I was committed to another horse so I couldn’t ride him. It’s great to see he’s come back this season and held his form quite well so hopefully he can keep going.
“I think there’s more to come from him, he’s quite laidback and lazy. Even when I won on him, I told Richard to put blinkers on him because he felt like he was going to quicken away and then he just pricked his ears and pulled enough out to win. But that’s a plus side because it means he has plenty in reserve going forward.”
The Class 3 Wistaria Handicap (1200m) is scheduled for 10.50pm, with the opener, the Class 4 Begonia Handicap (1200m), set to kick off the card at 7.15pm.