Horse Racing
Fifty Fifty takes his chance at a mile in Sunday’s Chevalier Cup

By David Morgan
24/11/2017 14:48

Fifty Fifty lands back-to-back wins on his penultimate start.
Fifty Fifty lands back-to-back wins on his penultimate start.

Fifty Fifty faces his first Class 1 test in the Chevalier Cup Handicap (1600m) at Sha Tin Racecourse on Sunday, 26 November, with jockey Karis Teetan looking to make amends after a luckless reversal last time out.

Peter Ho’s talented grey galloper was impressive in winning his first two starts this term, looking every inch a star on the rise, but had to settle for a late-dashing third behind Marvel Tribe in a 1400m Class 2 on 5 November. The Thorn Park gelding will stretch to a mile for the first time.

“He’s an improving horse and has been all season,” Teetan said. “Every time he runs he keeps meeting stronger horses, going up in class, and even this time he tackles a step up in class and distance. I don’t think either will be a problem because he goes in with a really nice weight (115lb) and he’s come on very well from his last run.”

Fifty Fifty returned the 1.9 favourite to win his latest race. But after jumping from gate 2, the New Zealand-bred was trapped mid-pack against the running rail when the field made the turn into the home run. Teetan had to sit and suffer until 250 metres out, from which point his mount rattled home in a fastest closing 400m split of 22.42s to finish a short-head and a neck behind 65/1 winner Marvel Tribe and fellow grey prodigy, Pingwu Spark.

“That 1400 (metres) race last time, he had a good gate and came out pretty good, but he couldn’t be in a handier position because there were too many fast horses around him. I had to take a sit and got stuck on the rail. In the straight, when he was getting going, a few were stopping in front of me. He did get a clear run towards the end and flew home,” Teetan said.

Fifty Fifty, a 1400m maiden winner at his sole start in New Zealand pre-import, is yet to finish outside the frame in four Hong Kong outings and heads into the HK$2.5 million contest rated 91, a full 17 points higher than at the start of the season.

“He’s done everything right and he’s on the right road, he’s looking good going towards the race,” Teetan said.

The five-year-old will break from gate three in Sunday’s 10-runner feature in which he will face well-seasoned rivals, the likes of Group 3 course and distance winner Booming Delight (133lb), Romantic Touch (130lb), Eastern Express (123lb), Simply Invincible (120lb) and Citron Spirit (116lb), as well as the new Irish import Exultant (114lb), raced as Irishcorrespondent in Europe and an eye-catching fifth on his Hong Kong debut earlier this month.

Rivet to debut against Spark and Giant

Booming Delight’s stablemate and year younger full-brother Rivet (132lb) will make his Hong Kong debut in race eight on Sunday, the Class 2 Chevalier Property Development & Operations Handicap (1400m). The G1 Racing Post Trophy (1600m) winner also sports owner Peter Law’s yellow and red silks and will break from gate 12 under Tommy Berry.

Rivet will concede weight to all 12 of his rivals. They include two exciting emerging talents in Pingwu Spark (127lb) and Little Giant (130lb).

Pingwu Spark notched back-to-back wins before failing narrowly behind Marvel Tribe last time but jockey Derek Leung believes there is more to come from the strapping Benno Yung-trained five-year-old.

Pingwu Spark is narrowly beaten by Marvel Tribe last time with Fifty Fifty third.

“Last time, he had horses all around him at the 600 (metres) so he wasn’t relaxed on the turn,” Leung explained. “This time we’ll still try to go forward and be handy, and hopefully we’ll have some luck. It’s a stronger field but he’s learning with every race and I know he’ll always do his best.”

Little Giant made it two wins from three Hong Kong starts when scoring easily first-up for the term in a 1200m Class 2 on the all-weather track last time. After winning impressively on debut back in May, David Hall’s charge was only third to Shamal in June.

“He’s come back this season and he looks like he wants to get it done again,” jockey Zac Purton said. “His trial was good and he’s done everything right so I’m looking forward to getting back to the races with him. I don’t see 1400 (metres) as being a problem. He hit the line well last time and he’s a lovely, relaxed horse during the race so he’ll switch off and give himself every chance.”

The 10-race card will also see last season’s Champion Griffin Premiere attempt to seal a hat-trick of wins this term down the straight 1000m. John Size’s charge will break from gate five under Teetan in the Class 2 Chevalier Lifts & Escalators Handicap, his first run since 11 October.

“I’ve trialled him a few times, the horse seems healthy and well again,” Teetan said. He’s had a good few trials and, for me, he’s improving all the time. At 1000 metres, if you’re a bit fresh it should be good, so I think it’s a good race for him.”

Sunday’s racing kicks off at 12.45pm with the Class 4 Chevalier Aluminium Engineering Handicap (1000m). The finale at 5.50pm is the Class 3 Chevalier Senior Housing Handicap (1400m). The action also includes a simulcast of the G1 Japan Cup, which will be shown at 2.40pm, between races four and five.